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Part 2: Smuckers: from Cider to Corporate Empire

Smuckers has been slowly buying out Organic Juice companies. Under Smuckers management, many of the juice product ingredients have changed dramatically.

History of Smuckers

Smuckers was started by the current CEOs' great-grandfather 105-years-ago as a cider mill and apple-butter maker, the J.M. Smucker Company is engaged in the manufacturing and marketing of food products on a worldwide basis. The Company also sells products under the Smucker's, Jif and Crisco brands. These products include fruit spreads, ice cream toppings, peanut butter and shortenings and oils. Products are also marketed under numerous other trademarks owned by the Company, including Dickinson's, Lost Acres, Mary Ellen, Adams, Laura Scudder's, Goober, Simply Fruit, Magic Shell, Sundae Syrup, Smucker's Snackers, Uncrustables, IXL, Double Fruit, Good Morning, The R. W. Knudsen Family, After The Fall, Simply Nutritious, Recharge, Santa Cruz Organic and Spritzer.

Smuckers has been slowly buying out Organic Juice companies. Under Smuckers management, many of the juice product ingredients have changed dramatically. For instance Santa Cruz Organic and R.W. Knudsen products contain less and less fruit juice and more and more high sugar content. This has been true for jams and jellies also. The industry in general has been diluting fruit foods so much that the Food and Drug Administration now has a new category of fruit preserves called "spreads" which are mostly sugar, gelatin, a little fruit and other additives.

Smuckers has also been acquiring peanut butter companies and hopes to control the market. In May 2002, the Jif peanut butter and Crisco shortening and oils business of Procter & Gamble Co. were merged into the Smuckers Company. Valued at $731 million in Smucker stock, the deal is seen as small potatoes on Wall Street but the deal has tied up assets of the company. Smuckers products are marketed in the U.S., Canada, Europe and South America.

Strike at Smuckers plant in Woodburn

The strike at the Smuckers plant in Woodburn, Oregon was called on July 9, 2002. The workers have been unable to negotiate a contract for more than a year. The workers proposal contains wage increases for both regular and seasonal employees, pension improvements and protection against future health and welfare increases. The company refuses to talk to workers on any of these issues.

more information on the strike 15.Jul.2002 13:26

ppb

For more information on the strike, and how the Walk for Farmworker Justice folks joined the Teamsters in solidarity, see:  http://portland.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=14510&group=webcast