Donald Duck Groceries
Birth of an Short-tempered Duck
Donald Duck was created by the Walt Disney Company in 1934 and his first appearance was in the cartoon “The Wise Little Hen.” His most popular appearance was in the “Three Caballeros.” Donald was a white duck who always wore a sailor suit and hat. He had a very bad temper and a squeaky voice. The voice was first performed by radio actor Clarence Nash.
Donald Duck Juice
Donald was a pretty popular character, second only to Mickey Mouse. The duck did his part during WWII appearing in training films. He also started a new career in 1941. The Florida Citrus Canners Cooperative bought a license to produce a line of citrus products labeled Donald Duck and also including his likeness. This license is still in effect and you can still buy grapefruit and orange juice with Donald’s likeness today.
Donald Duck Groceries
The juice was so successful that in 1950 the Walt Disney Company started a Food Licensing department. By 1952, over 85 products carried the Donald Duck name. They included bread, peanut butter, ice cream, applesauce, salad dressing, cherry pie filling, chili beans, frozen vegetables and fish and various sodas. Disney freely marketed the name only restricting it to products that were wholesome and for kids. For obvious reasons tobacco and alcohol were not able to use the duck’s name.
Products Pulled from Shelves
An exception to the rule was Donald Duck coffee, obviously not something that kids routinely drink. But it appealed to adult Donald fans and was actually rather popular. Many of the Donald products flew off the grocery shelves. The licensing was very successful and quite profitable to the company. But in 1955, Disney started a new TV show and the company was concerned about alienating potential advertisers. Why would a soda company want to advertise on the TV show if Disney products were competing with them?
So today, only Donald Duck Juice is left from the original crop of products. You can still find Disney products on the grocery shelves, but not many of the classic characters. There are usually movie tie ins and products based on the newer characters, such as Toy Story band-aids or Campbells Disney Princess soup.
The early food labels are hard to find, they were usually thrown out. But occasionally you can find them on EBay or other online auctions.