Chiquita Milestones
Chiquita Milestones


More than a century ago, shipping fresh bananas and preventing them from ripening en route was a real challenge. The first banana shippers, relying on favorable winds could only hope that their cargo would not ripen before they reached port. When Captain Lorenzo Dow Baker sailed the fishing schooner Telegraph from Jamaica to Jersey City in 1870, with a load of 160 bunches, he stowed them on deck and waited for fair winds. His luck held, and he arrived in New Jersey 11 days later, where he sold them for a profit of $2.00 per bunch. This was the beginning of what is now known as Chiquita Brands International.

In 1899, the United Fruit Company was founded. The company was fruit of the merge of Boston Fruit Company owned by Captain Baker and Andrew Preston and a railway company that had planted bananas alongside its tracks. Minor C. Keith and his railroad companies merged with the Boston Fruit Company to create the United Fruit Company on March 30, 1899.

United Fruit Company issued its first annual shareholders report a year later, in 1990 and was first listed on New York Stock Exchange in 1903.
Milestones 1899
The Great White Fleet name can be traced back to 1907, when President Teddy Roosevelt sent a fleet of warships on a worldwide tour. These ships were painted white instead of the now customary gray, and became known as the Great White Fleet. At the same time, Captain Baker also painted his ships white to reflect the tropical sunlight and allow banana temperatures to be more easily maintained.

As the United Fruit Company fleet of big, fast, white-painted reefer vessels grew, they too became known as the Great White Fleet. By 1930, the company’s fleet had grown to 95 ships.
Milestones 1907
Towards the end of World War II, the Company introduced the name Chiquita and the Miss Chiquita character and jingle. Miss Chiquita was introduced as the logo and mascot for the banana company in 1944 and was drawn by artist Dik Browne.

In the early years, Miss Chiquita appeared on radio shows and made many guest appearances in movies, commercials, and even the Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra. The banana, Miss Chiquita, was changed into a woman with a fruit hat in 1987.

The current logo features a rough rendering of the woman above the brand name on a blue seal.
Milestones 1944
The Company began the largest branding program ever undertaken by a produce marketer, accompanied by a record-breaking ad campaign which included affixing the trademark blue sticker to bananas.

Supermarket displays featured oversized versions of the blue and gold icon accompanied by the phrase: "This seal outside means the best inside."
Milestones 1963
The Chiquita brand was introduced in Europe. Two years later, more than 4 billion pounds (1.8 billion kilograms) of bananas were being shipped and sold by the company worldwide.
Milestones 1966
The company merged with AMK Corporation and changed its name to United Brands Co. Eli Black took a controlling interest by outbidding two other conglomerates, Zapata Corporation and Textron. After the suicide of Black, the company was acquired by Seymour Milstein and Paul Milstein.

Three years later, the Company introduced the first refrigerated container ships for transport of bananas between Latin America and Texas.
Milestones 1970
The company sponsored the XIII Olympic Winter Games held in Lake Placid. The brand issued a limited edition of 16 collectible stickers featuring the raccoon mascot of the games.

American speed skater Eric Heiden won all five speed skating events from 500m all the way up to 10,000m, setting an Olympic record in every one. He became the first person in Olympic history to win five gold medals in individual events at the same Games.
Milestones 1980
In 1990, the Company officially changed its name to Chiquita Brands International, Inc. to take advantage of global brand name recognition. In the 90s, Chiquita started its journey to become a more sustainable company by partnering with NGOs such as Rainforest Alliance for achieving certification for all of its owned banana farms in Latin America by 2000.

The same year, Chiquita adopted the Social Accountability 8000 standard for labor rights as the core labor standard for its operations.
Milestones 1990
Chiquita Brands International is acquired by agribusiness Grupo Cutrale and J. Safra Group.

The company repositions the brand as ‘playful by nature’ and launches the ‘Just Smile’ campaign around the globe.
Milestones 2015