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    Sunsweet Purchases Land, Begins Construction of Facility in Chile

    YUBA CITY, Cal. -- Sunsweet Growers Inc., a leading marketer of dried plums, specialty dried fruit products and fruit juices, is constructing a fruit drying facility on land it has purchased in Chile. The facility will protect Sunsweet during short California crop years and provide access to low-price markets currently inaccessible with California fruit.

    YUBA CITY, Cal. -- Sunsweet Growers Inc., a leading marketer of dried plums, specialty dried fruit products and fruit juices, is constructing a fruit drying facility on land it has purchased in Chile. The facility will protect Sunsweet during short California crop years and provide access to low-price markets currently inaccessible with California fruit.

    "Sunsweet is on course to modestly diversify our sourcing," said Gary Thiara, Sunsweet's chairman. "Global demand for our products is growing. The new Chilean facility will provide Sunsweet access to prune and other fruit production in the Southern Hemisphere, and it will insulate the Sunsweet brand from future crop disasters like those that hit our California growing base in 2004 and 2005."

    Sunsweet president Arthur Driscoll II added, "With a distribution base in more than 60 countries, it's become increasingly risky to source all of our prunes and raisins solely from California's central valleys."

    Driscoll said that by building its own drying facility, Sunsweet can ensure that the Chilean dried fruit meets the company's quality standards.

    Sunsweet's foreign presence also opens the door to participate in and influence local markets, Driscoll noted. "We can work with other local producers to promote, advertise, and fund research supporting the unique values of dried fruit globally," he said.

    Sunsweet Growers Inc., established in 1917, is the worldwide leader in dried plums and related products. Most recently, the product portfolio has been expanded to include a full line of dried fruit snacks all designed to fit today's need for healthy and convenient food choices.

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