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National Fruit Product Company Brings a Pro-Active Approach to Business in Lincoln County

The proactive attitude of National Fruit Product Company, Inc. has kept the Lincoln County plant in business. The one time apple juice bottling company had to find a new product when hard times fell upon the apple juice industry. This new product was Gatorade, a sport drink product owned by The Quaker Oats Company. National Fruit has become so efficient at producing Gatorade that in February the plant will begin operating 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

According to Plant Manager L.D. Shockley, National Fruit, which is a family owned 95-year-old company, has just completed one of its best years ever. The plant’s Gatorade production exceeded 3,000,000 cases and the plant achieved the lowest rate of consumer complaints for the eight facilities across the country that co packs Gatorade.

In September of 2001 Pepsi Co. acquired The Quaker Oats Co. This has brought and will continue to bring positive changes to the Lincolnton Plant. Sales of 20 oz. wide mouth PET bottles produced in Lincolnton rose 26% from 2000 and in December the plant began bottling 3 new flavors; Lime Ice, Orange Ice and Strawberry Ice.

The Lincolnton plant also produces whole sale white distilled vinegar. Last year the plant produced over a million gallons of vinegar. Shockley stated this was a normal average for the facility.

National Fruit has just completed its 11th straight successful year of co packing Gatorade and Shockley is optimistic about the company’s future. According to Shockley, “The folks at Lincolnton are knowledgeable, skilled and dedicated to the success of the product they bottle. That’s why Gatorade comes back to Lincolnton year after year. They know that Lincolnton has enormous pride in their product. The quality of the product and the consumer complaint rate reflect that. I’m excited about 2002 and what it has in store for the Lincolnton facility.”