International Fruit Co. will primarily ship fruit with the Chiquita label, but also will have a generic label.
Espinoza said the company, which he said is housed in the same building as the Chiquita headquarters, is an entirely independent separate company but has a good working relationship with Chiquita officials. Espinoza said there is mutual trust between Chiquita and International Fruit Co. in relation to continuing strong food safety and quality standards.
“As a new company, we are conducting business exactly with the same core values,” he said.
As an independent company, International Fruit Co. will assume responsibility for all advertising and marketing costs, but he said the company will find synergies at trade shows and other events.
A spokesman for Chiquita could not be immediately be reached for comment.
Keith Leichty, a nine-year veteran of Chiquita — most recently as the company’s Chilean sales manager — is now vice president of sales for International Fruit Co. Alex Bryant, another former Chiquita employee who worked with Espinoza, is general manager of the new company.