AUBURNDALE, Fla. - The Coca-Cola Co. said Tuesday that it is spending $2 billion to support the planting of 25,000 acres of new orange groves in Florida, a move officials are lauding as a major investment in the Sunshine State's citrus industry.
The announcement was made at a news conference at Coca-Cola's juice production plant in Auburndale.
Coca-Cola will buy fruit from two growers: Peace River Citrus Products in Vero Beach and Cutrale Citrus, one of Brazil's top growers and juice processors.
Cutrale Citrus' entrance to Florida as a grower is significant, said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.
"The fact that one of the dominant Brazilian players will now have an ownership stake in actual production in Florida is a tremendous development," Putnam said.