Experts said they couldn’t produce it on a commercial scale, but Marjorie Roe’s sons built Noble Juice based on the strength of her recipe for tangerine juice. Traditionally considered bitter, Marjorie studied “sweet zones” for different types of tangerines and a way to mix them to make a sweet-tasting juice. That taste led to a business boasting five varieties of premium organic and six varieties of all-natural juice — and a company where sustainability is a top priority.
How did a recipe launch a successful business and inspire innovative practices? For Noble Juice, product and packaging sustainability are at the forefront of its mission. Attention to its employees and work environment are paramount. And it is committed to profitable business practices providing long-term stability, jobs, and economic growth for its community.
The Triple Bottom Line
Noble Juice was the first company in the world to package juice in an eco-friendly bottle and sleeve made entirely from plants. That earned Noble Juice a Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Impact Award for Environment and Sustainability Excellence in Packaging. PMA Executive Committee Chairman Bruce Taylor says, “Packaging offers rich opportunities to promote branding and to advance key initiatives such as sustainability.”
Americans use three million plastic bottles every hour and recycle less than 30%, reports the Environmental Protection Agency. Plastic bottle production uses millions of barrels of crude oil. If you were to fill one-quarter of a plastic water bottle with oil, you would be looking at roughly the amount used to produce that bottle, according to National Geographic.
"The numbers say it all. We think there’s a better way.” — Quentin Roe, President and CEO of Noble Juice
Depending on the size and type, most plastic bottles require 450 to 1,000 years to decompose. Noble Juice bottles and labels generate 75% fewer greenhouse gasses and require 46% less energy to produce than traditional plastics. Energy and oil are saved, and the bottles can be recycled or will naturally decompose in active compost within 100 days.
The Noble Juice website states, “The key to delicious juice is treating the fruit well before it is juiced.” As it turns out, the key to taking care of our environment is making good choices about products and packaging before we produce and consume them.
Noble Juice also takes recycling seriously. It recycles paper, cardboard, and plastics. The company is working with the USDA on a process that will result in zero waste from its citrus peels. It will permit oils to be stripped from the peels and used for various applications from high-end perfumes to citrus cleaners. Sugars from the peels can be used to produce ethanol. The last phase, which is called nutraceuticals, will be used to produce a variety of products from corn flakes to dog food.
Throughout its facility, Noble Juice has installed new energy-efficient lighting. And in its grove care operations, it installed low-volume pulse drip irrigation and variegation systems, reducing both water and fertilizer usage by 50%.
Noble Juice is a subsidiary of William G. Roe & Sons, the largest tangerine packer in Florida. Founded in 1927, William G. Roe & Sons is a family-owned business that grows, harvests, and processes specialty citrus fruit, which it markets worldwide.
It is a fourth-generation family business that promotes a family atmosphere. Noble Juice averages between 500-550 employees with about 450-475 of those being seasonal workers. Many of their employees have worked for them for over 15 years, and all workers are paid above minimum wage.
The company provides tuition reimbursement for employees wanting to pursue higher education, and employees have access to 401k, health savings accounts, and other investment opportunities. Full-time, hourly and salaried employees receive group medical coverage. Noble Juice has an active safety program and provides ongoing work safety education.
In its community, the Noble Cause initiative forms alliances with nonprofits. For example, Noble Juice has partnered with The Children’s Home, which serves over 15,000 children and adults each year in Tampa Bay. Noble Juice also participates in the Eloise Revitalization Project, which brings together people and businesses in the Winter Haven area to revive and beautify underprivileged communities. On an ongoing basis, the company sponsors local farmers’ markets and donates product to local schools and ministries, and it has donated property to the county for a lakeside park.
Noble Juice has experienced 8-10% growth per year in juice sales. 95% of sales occur outside of Polk county, with most being outside the state of Florida. This makes the company a GNP producing company that brings dollars into the state. A majority of Noble Juice suppliers are local.
The company provides 10% of profits as bonuses to employees and reinvests the remainder in innovations to improve and grow the company. In 2011, officials with the United States Department of Agriculture recognized William G. Roe & Sons for its use of a government-backed loan that helped the business retain nearly 300 jobs, increase its employee count by about 50 full-time equivalents and invest approximately $3 million in equipment.
Learn more about Noble Juice.