In February 2021, Dole and Total Produce announced plans to merge. The new company called Dole Plc had an estimated combined 2020 revenue of approximately $9.7bn and would be twice as large as its nearest competitor Del Monte.
The new company will have a wider geographic reach with Total Produce strong in Europe and Dole firmly entrenched in the Americas. The merger agreement highlights that this partnership creates a well-balanced geographic footprint and allows Dole to collect greater customer insight from a broader range of consumers around the world.
Fruit and vegetable demand has grown in recent years as consumers eat less sugar and fatty foods in favor of more fresh produce, thereby helping provide ample growth opportunities for companies such as Dole and Total Produce. According to the 2020 Organic Produce Performance Report, sales of organic produce rose 14.2% in 2020, representing a $1bn increase to $8.5bn.
Total Produce chairman Carl McCann has stated that “The combined company will become the largest global player with over 170 years of history in fresh produce in both companies, a highly diversified portfolio, resilient earnings and a strong balance sheet that positions us well for accelerated growth”.
Moreover, both Dole and Total Produce have been focusing on sustainability in recent years. Total produce confirmed that as of February 2021 the group’s UK operations have completed the transition to 100% ‘Deep Green’ renewable electric energy sources to power its business units across the country.
Similarly, in March 2021 Dole Food Company announced the launch of an integrated sustainability campaign aimed at amplifying its sustainability goals launched in 2020 under ‘The Dole Way’. According to Dole, ‘the Dole Way campaign illustrates a path of transformation that will recognize impact and communicate goals, both on a global and local scale.’
Continuing to focus on sustainability will help the combined company to extend its consumer base as more consumers are becoming increasingly interested about the impact products they are consuming or purchasing have on the environment.