Frieda’s Branded Produce, the California-based company founded by Frieda Rapoport Caplan to supply speciality fruit and vegetables from around the world, celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.
Caplan is credited with introducing products such as spaghetti squash, dragon fruit, and, famously, kiwifruit, the andmark item that put Frieda’s on the US produce map.
Frieda’s made major headway in the industry during the 1960s after introducing labelling on produce with a sticker containing a recipe to entice shoppers to try and purchase produce that was unfamiliar to them at first glance.
“We were the first to not only label our products, but because there was some empty space on the first label, my mom decided to offer free recipes to the consumer by asking them to send us a self-addressed stamped envelope with ideas,” said Frieda’s CEO Karen Caplan.
“Never could she imagine that more than 300-500 individual shoppers would write to us for recipes every week! I know this happened, as answering those letters was my first job!
“This was before the internet, so Frieda’s became the trusted source for recipes and information to shoppers for new and exotic produce.”
Sixty years later, the company said it is still carrying out its mission of inspiring healthy, colourful, and delicious eating by educating consumers and the industry on how to enjoy unique produce.
The number 60 has also taken on special meaning for the company. Based on a C&R omnibus research survey of 1,000 people in partnership with Frieda’s, 60 per cent of shoppers said that Frieda’s branded produce is more likely to catch their eye in stores; contains the most appealing names; and has the most up-to-date branding versus the leading specialty produce competitor.
“Consumers are telling us that our packaging looks better than ever, and our research shows that shoppers are willing to pay more for our items vs. the competition,” said Alex Jackson, Frieda’s director of sales.
“Not only does that help bring your produce department to life, but it also translates into higher sales per square foot for our retail clients.”
In honour of the 60-year anniversary, Frieda’s has released a a bespoke birthday cake recipe featuring some of its most popular items, such as Popjoys kumquats, Stokes Purple sweet potatoes and Frieda’s pink lemons.
The company is also inviting customers to share their favourite memories of Frieda’s and its founder on social media.