BRADENTON -- Tropicana's flagship juice has a new look.
The PepsiCo Inc. subsidiary introduced a new 89-ounce container for its Pure Premium orange juice this week designed to be easier to pour and fit better into a refrigerator.
The clear-handle container carries a suggested retail price of $6.29. Made from PET plastic, the bottle is entirely recyclable -- flip top and all.
The company said three out of four customers surveyed preferred the new style over the previous screw-top container, which was developed just last year in response to competition.
The container will be immediately integrated into grocery stores across the country.
"We listened closely to our consumers who said they prefer to see the juice, and worked with our research team to marry the best of form and function," said Jacqi Coleman, senior marketing manager for Tropicana Pure Premium. "People told us they'd be proud to put this beautiful pitcher on their table."
Tropicana is one of Manatee's largest employers, with more than 1,000 workers at its plant off U.S. 301 in Bradenton. Tropicana built a new $4 million manufacturing facility at the site in 2011 to accommodate a switch to bottle packaging for its juices.
The company, founded in 1953, is the largest purchaser
of fruit in Florida, processing 60 million boxes of fruit a season, or 1.2 million oranges each day between November and mid-June.
The new packaging released this week is the latest effort by the company to stand out in the grocer's crowded juice aisle.
Tropicana, which reported $6.2 billion in sales last year, has seen its sales squeezed some by the recession as consumers turn to value brands for their cost savings.
Tropicana is among a handful of industry giants now battling a series of lawsuits concerned with the amount of processing that goes into a product labelled as "100 percent natural."