Revenge of the Cuties

As Gavin braves the sludgy Boston winter in search of food, I am comfortably sitting in the aqua-blue chair at my in-laws searching for the meaning of life. Well, not quite, I was wondering why Cuties only seem to come in 5 pound boxes.


Dulce commented earlier that there were “just too many” in a box to eat in a reasonable amount of time, and they never seemed to be sold individually, although other brands of tangerines (little orange segmented fruits) were.

Google yielded as many questions as it did answers. I found Sun Pacific, the marketers of Cuties, website, it boasted such statistics and factoids as “we move 20 million boxes of Cuties® California Clementines a year” and “in the early 2000’s Sun Pacific introduced the Cuties® brand California Clementine from our ranches in the San Joaquin Valley.”

They are also eager to note that

“A “Cuties® standard” exists within our extensive operation to ensure that superior quality goes into each and every box we pack. Each piece of fruit goes through a rigorous inspection to ensure a good eating quality, high sugar levels and minimal seed content, to be sure it satisfies the grade requirements so that it can be packed under the Cuties® brand.”

That’s all well and good, but why are they only sold in boxes and sacks filled beyond the average human consumption rate?

I think part of the answer may lay in the merchandising. On their merchandising site, they show pictures of “Cuties” displays neatly stacked in boxes. There is no doubt in the consumers mind these -and only these- are THE official California “Cutie”.


While other orange segmented fruit lie piled high on tables, Cuties are carefully protected in their little box (or bag) and cannot easily be used as projectiles, or roll freely from the displays.

As for the box size? In American bigger is better: people want to feel they got the best value for their dollar, and if you’re stacking boxes of fruit to display, you don’t want to spend all day with small boxes that are more box than fruit.

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