If people think bananas, they will say “Chiquita”. Why? Because Chiquita is a leading global banana company employing 18,000 people across 25 countries and with a presence in nearly 70 countries. In every market where it is present Chiquita works continuously to be the banana of choice.
It provides consumers and customers with the highest quality of fruit and service, at the same time creating consistent value for the Chiquita brand, its customers, suppliers, associates and communities whilst respecting the environment.
While approaching 150 years young, the heart of the company is fresh. Today, Chiquita leads with a reinvigorated vision. Our new leadership is heavily investing in our foundation to better support our business goals through sustainable growth from farm rejuvenation, strengthening our commercial supplier base, improving packing plants, taking control of our logistics and shipping to re-launching into a new brand positioning.
The origin of Chiquita
Our story began over than a century ago, when shipping fresh bananas and preventing them from ripening 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.
Captain Lorenzo Dow Baker
When Captain Lorenzo Dow Baker sailed the fishing schooner Telegraph from Jamaica to Jersey City in 1870 with a cargo of 160 bunches of bananas, he simply stowed them on deck and waited for fair winds. His luck held, and he arrived in New Jersey 11 days later, where he sold his cargo for a profit of $2.00 per bunch.
In 1885, Captain Baker started a partnership with Andrew Preston and investors and called it Boston Fruit Company. This was the modest beginning of the global phenomenon that is now known as Chiquita Brands International.
United fruit company
In 1899, the United Fruit Company was founded. This was the fruit (to coin a phrase) of the merger of the Boston Fruit Company, owned by Captain Baker and Andrew Preston, and the Minor C. Keith railroad company, which had planted bananas alongside its tracks.
United Fruit Company
The company was created on March 30; United Fruit Company issued its first annual shareholders report a year later, in 1990, and was first listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1903.
The ships were painted white to reflect the tropical sun and maintain the optimum temperature for bananas, and were referred to as “The Great White Fleet”.
Great White Fleet
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.
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.
Today, cargo shippers to and from Central America only have to call the Great White Fleet to get the same superior service they have enjoyed for almost a century. Great White Fleet is a component of Chiquita Brands International, headquartered in Charlotte, NC.
Chiquita Brands and it’s subsidiaries employ approximately 20,000 people across 70 countries and six continents. We are proud of our company and even prouder of the people who make up our organization.
Miss Chiquita, our first lady of fruit
In her early years, Miss Chiquita found fame in the fruit aisle as an animated banana. Drawn in 1944 by cartoonist Dik Browne, the creator and illustrator of Hägar the Horrible and the Hi and Lois comics, Miss Chiquita gave a friendly, personal face to Chiquita bananas.
With her festive and fun personality, Miss Chiquita was the resident expert on everything you ever wanted to know about bananas, she helped to teach consumers about the great nutritional value of bananas and how to ripen them.
She was a big celebrity, making guest appearances on top radio shows, including Fred Allen and Alec Templeton’s programs. Other broadcast personalities who invited Miss Chiquita to join them on the air included Charlie McCarthy and Bert Lahr. As the decades progressed, so did Miss Chiquita’s look, as she was slowly brought to life.
The Chiquita Banana Jingle
“I’m Chiquita banana and I’ve come to say – Bananas have to ripen in a certain way – When they are fleck’d with brown and have a golden hue – Bananas taste the best and are best for you …….”
Chiquita Banana jingle
The chances are you can sing, or at least hum, a few bars of the famous Chiquita Banana jingle.
The song first hit the airwaves in 1944 when Miss Chiquita made her debut. The catchy tune was written to help teach Americans how to ripen and use bananas, which were, at the time, an exotic tropical fruit. The song was created by an ad agency team led by Robert Foreman. The singer in the original 1944 recording was Patti Clayton, the first in a long line of Miss Chiquitas.
At its peak, the jingle was played 376 times a day on radio stations across the United States, and was one of the most successful commercial jingles of all time.
In 1999, we updated the lyrics to make the jingle more relevant for consumers and to highlight the nutritional benefits of eating a Chiquita banana every day:
Extract: “I’m Chiquita Banana and I’ve come to say – I offer good nutrition in a simple way – When you eat a Chiquita you’ve done your part – To give every single day a healthy start – Underneath the crescent yellow – You’ll find vitamins and great taste – With no fat, you just can’t beat ’em – You’ll feel better when you eat ’em – They’re a gift from Mother Nature and a natural additional to your table – For wholesome, healthy, pure bananas – look for Chiquita’s label!”
In 2015 we launched the latest version to make the jingle more relevant for today’s consumers and highlight the new brand positioning, Just Smile!
Copyrights: Lyrics © 1999 Chiquita Brands L.L.C. “Chiquita Banana” (words and music by Garth Montgomery, Leonard Mackenzie, William Wirges) under license to Chiquita Brands L.L.C. © 1945 Shawnee Press Inc.
Chiquita advertising campaigns
Discover a selection of our historical and recent advertisements. Chiquita is one of the world’s most popular brands due in part to our beloved commercials and print ads over the years. We’ve compiled a whole bunch of favorites for you to enjoy. Playful by Nature!
Our iconic Blue Sticker
A likeness of Miss Chiquita has appeared on the distinctive Blue Stickers that identify Chiquita bananas and other products since 1963.
“This seal outside means the best inside.”
Miss Chiquita humanized
Miss Chiquita was depicted as a banana until 1987, when artist Oscar Grillo, the creator of the Pink Panther, transformed her into a woman. The change reflected the affectionate image the public had of Miss Chiquita as a real person.
Chiquita Brands International
The Company officially changed its name to Chiquita Brands International, Inc. to take advantage of global brand name recognition.
Chiquita Brands Internaitonal
- Chiquita took delivery of the first of 16 refrigerated ships in its modern fleet and invested in major banana expansion in the Atlantic zone of Costa Rica.
- In 1991, Chiquita built a state-of-the-art banana processing plant in Costa Rica.
- In 1992. Chiquita’s refrigerated ships were fitted with new controlled atmospheres to further slow the ripening process and enhance the quality of fruit shipments.
- In 1994, The first Chiquita farms were certified by the Rainforest Alliance’s Better Banana Project.
Our sustainability efforts
Chiquita adopted a set of Core Values and updated its Code of Conduct to include Social Accountability International’s SA8000 labor standard. Rainforest Alliance certified all of Chiquita’s farms in Latin America.
- In 2001, Chiquita & IUF, COLSIBA, signed a historic agreement on labor rights for banana workers. Wal-Mart named Chiquita its Environmental Supplier of the Year.
- In 2004, All of the Chiquita-owned farms in Latin America were certified to the SA8000 labor standard. Chiquita earned a “Corporate Citizen of the Americas Award” from the Organization of American States for the Nuevo San Juan home-ownership project in Honduras.
In 2015 Chiquita launched the Just Smile! campaign as the creative platform to connect Chiquita bananas and consumers in a playful way. Chiquita is a brand that infects happiness, positivity and the desire to share.
We are bananas
In 2017, we launched it new global positioning with we are bananas campaign in North-America and we extended to Europe in 2018.
Always the Best Choice
Fast food or restaurant? Workout or disco? Eating healthy or eating good? The day is full of decisions to be made. But is it necessary to choose? Chiquita thinks that there’s always a third option.
Always the Best Choice
The European adaptation was a new multi-channel campaign leveraging local specificities “Always the Best Choice”.
This is the concept that inspired the multi-subject campaign, developed to describe in a fresh, dynamic and playful way that the Chiquita banana iconic Blue Sticker’s, with its typical smile and great taste, always makes everyone agree.
The new brand campaign coincided with the results of the Brand Love Study by Smarty Pants. This ground-breaking study, now in its 9th year, identifies the brands that capture the heart of parents and their kids across America. Chiquita was included for the very first time in the study, and was chosen by parents as the most loved banana brand. It ranked #14 among Parents Top 50 brands within 347 brands and across 20 categories.
The Banana Sun Cometh
By using simplicity, boldness, and humor, we hacked a celestial event and made everyone think about Chiquita bananas.
Miss Chiquita, our brand icon
Confirming her relevance to today’s world, Miss Chiquita won the first PopIcon International award during Advertising.
Miss Chiquita, our brand icon
She was also inducted into the 2018 Advertising Week Madison Avenue Walk of Fame in 2018, which celebrates the finest advertising icons in the industry. And, in 2019, Miss Chiquita once more joined the Madison Avenue Walk of Fame, this time to celebrate her 75th anniversary.
Later that year, Miss Chiquita was also voted among the 10 “sexiest” brand mascots, according to Beyond her festive appearance, Miss Chiquita is also a major advocate for the Chiquita brand. Her mission was — and still is — to demonstrate the fun side of healthy snacking.
Chiquita is bananas
The banana is the world’s fourth most important food crop after rice, wheat and maize. More than 10 billion of our bananas are eaten every year. Quality and taste are in our DNA, and the symbol of this quality has been represented for the past more than 50 years with our famous, iconic Blue Sticker.