Maui sugar to sweeten California school milk
Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. has won a contract to supply unrefined Maui sugar to sweeten flavored milk in Los Angeles public schools this fall.
HC&S's Maui Brand Natural Evaporated Cane Juice (ECJ) will replace high-fructose corn syrup in milk products served to about 1 million children in the 1,200-school system.
El Monte, Calif.-based Driftwood Dairy plans to sweeten the chocolate, strawberry, root beer and orange creme milks it supplies with natural evaporated cane juice to reduce calories in its drinks.
Maui Brand ECJ is the latest in a line of natural sugarcane products from HC&S, a division of Alexander & Baldwin Inc.
"Securing this key West Coast customer for Maui Brand is evidence that HC&S's diversification into specialty sugars is both timely and on target," said HC&S general manager Frank E. Kiger.
The company said the Driftwood contract is "multi-year" but declined to disclose the term or value.
Driftwood Dairy is one of the largest independent dairy processing companies in the western United States and an established supplier of school milk and juices to nearly 100 school districts in southern California.
HC&S has, to date, invested close to $24 million in building production capacity at its specialty sugar facility since it was first brought on line in 1989, according to Kiger.
He said the investment has enabled HC&S to produce sufficient volumes of Maui Brand in time to capture a share of the nation's growing demand for natural products.
HC&S is also teaming up with sister companies Matson Navigation Co. and Matson Integrated Logistics, to ensure the timely transport of the sugar from Maui to California, as well as further inland to manufacturing sites.