Retail/Wholesale: DAVID GUM
CEO, NATIONAL FRUIT PRODUCT CO., WINCHESTER
While the apple product company officially does business as National Fruit Product Co., everyday folks are more likely to know the name of its subsidiary, White House Foods, its brand carried east of the Mississippi River.
Co-founded in 1908 by Frank Armstrong Sr., National Fruit Product stayed in the Armstrong family for 98 years before Gum purchased the company, where he’d worked since he was 20 years old, in 2006. Known for its apple cider vinegar, the company says it’s the largest privately owned apple processor in the United States; it produces applesauce, apple juice and other products.
Although White House vinegar was the first major brand to be sold in glass jugs instead of opaque barrels, the better to see the product’s quality, the company recently ran into hot water for its marketing practices. In January, Santa Barbara-based Bragg Live Food Products LLC sued National Fruit Product for copyright infringement, alleging that around 2019, White House began selling apple cider vinegar in packaging that intentionally adopts the same design and colors as Bragg’s vinegar.
National Fruit Product Co., responding to the federal suit, argued that Bragg has not lost money or property from White House’s vinegar labels and had not registered its copyrights until after “purported infringement began.” The case was still under litigation in the Central District of California U.S. District Court in August.