Who is the Dole Food Company?

Dole Food Company, Inc. (Dole) is the world’s largest producer of fruits and vegetables headquartered in California (US) has a long history tracing back to 1851 with the establishment of Castle & Cooke, a Los Angeles-based company once part of the Big Five companies in territorial Hawaii.

The other half of Dole’s heritage, the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, was founded in 1901 by James Dole ‘aka Pineapple King’, who developed the pineapple industry in Hawaii and opened his first pineapple plantation in the central plateau of the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

In 1932, Castle & Cooke purchased a 21 per cent interest in the Hawaiian Pineapple Company and later (1960s) acquired the remainder of the business and renamed it “The Dole Food Company, Inc.

In April 2013, the Itochu Corporation (one of the largest general trading companies in Japan) bought the fresh fruit and vegetable business in Asia and the global processed foods business formally held by Dole Food Company Inc.

The history of Itochu dates back to 1858 when the Company’s founder Chubei Itoh commenced linen trading operations. The Itochu Group with the Itochu Corporation at its centre has more than 700 subsidiaries.

The businesses acquired by Itochu continue to use the Dole brand and are owned by Dole International Holdings, a Tokyo-based subsidiary of Itochu.

Dole New Zealand
(Trading as NZ Ripeners Ltd, a subsidiary of Dole Asia Holdings Pte)

Dole New Zealand is registered as NZ Ripeners Ltd, a subsidiary of Dole Asia Pte holdings. It’s a support office that entered New Zealand in 1993 and commissions Market Gardeners (MG), New Zealand’s largest wholesaler of fresh produce to collect, ripen and distribute the products to retailers.

The business imports pineapples and paw paw (papaya) from the Philippines, bananas from Ecuador and Philippines, ginger from Thailand and grapes from Chile (seasonal).

MG and Dole have developed a strong banana category partnership with Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd, that began in 1993. MG and Dole have supplied bananas on a national basis to Foodstuffs member stores under contract from 2003.

MG and Dole ripen bananas in partnership. The joint venture ripening partnership has three state of art facilities located in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The centres pick fruit for specific store requirements and cross dock through distribution centres or direct to store as required by Foodstuffs.

Sustainability & ethics

Dole is a recognised sustainable brand through various certifications and Dole New Zealand (under NZ Ripeners Ltd), is a member of the Sustainable Business Network (SBN).

The Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organisation that works to conserve biodiversity and promote the rights and well being of workers, their families and communities.

Farms that meet comprehensive standards for sustainability earn the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal. These standards conserve biodiversity, protect soils, waterways and wildlife habitat and help ensure that farm workers receive decent housing, access to medical care and schools for their children.

Dole is proud to hold the Rainforest Alliance Certificate (RAC) on its farms. In 2017, Dole NZ will participate on the RAC worldwide campaign, ‘Follow the Frog’ (#followthefrog) that aims to bring brand awareness to the certification.

Dole is committed to supplying the finest, high-quality products and to lead the industry in nutrition research and education. Dole supports these goals with a corporate philosophy of adhering to the highest ethical conduct in all its business dealings, treatment of its employees, and social and environmental policies.

The Itochu mission: Good for the seller, Good for the buyer, and Good for society.

“Businesses that simply pursue their own returns and ignore returns for society will not last. If returns are generated for both customers and a company, and people become more affluent and comfortable, leading to the realisation of a sustainable society, then the company will enjoy stable returns as a natural result.” – Masahiro Okafuji President and CEO of ITOCHU.

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