Women packing oranges at the Sunkist packing plant, Redlands, California, 1943
Formed in 1893 as the Southern California Fruit Exchange in Claremont by P. J. Dreher and his son, the "father" of the California citrus industry, Edward L. Dreher (1877–1964). The exchange soon included growers and groves in Pomona, Riverside and San Dimas in Los Angeles County, and Santa Paula, Saticoy, Fillmore, Rancho Sespe, Bardsdale and Piru in Ventura County; by 1905, the group represented 5,000 members, 45% of the California citrus industry, and renamed itself the California Fruit Growers Exchange. It adopted the "Sunkist" name in 1908 for its highest quality oranges, and so was the first to brand fruit.
Currently representing about 6000 members, Sunkist is a not-for-profit corporation, with all profits from the exchange returned to the growers. Sunkist is the largest marketing cooperative in the world's fruit and vegetable industry, and is one of the 10 largest marketing cooperatives in America.
Sunkist is the official fresh fruit of Six Flags.
 Sunkist trademark licensing
2 Sunkist Soda cans, American (left) and Chinese (right)
The Sunkist brand is on more than 600 products in over forty-five countries on five continents, usually fruit-flavored products or vitamins. Some examples include:
- Sunkist soft drinks including the orange-flavored "Sunkist Orange Soda" and other fruit-flavored sodas, are produced by Dr Pepper Snapple Group under license from Sunkist Growers; see Sunkist (soft drink). (US)
- "Sunkist Fruit Gems" are a soft fruit candy produced by Jelly Belly under license from Sunkist. Jelly Belly acquired the former producer, Ben Myerson Candy Company. (US & Canada)
- "Sunkist Fruit Snacks", "Sunkist Fruit & Grain Bars", and "Sunkist Baking Mixes" are marketed by General Mills (US)
- "Sunkist California Pistachios & Almonds" and "Sunkist Almond Accents" are products of Paramount Farms (US & Canada)
- "Sunkist NFC Orange Juice and Juice Drinks" are products of A. Lassonde (Canada)
- "Sunkist Fruit First Fruit Snacks" are products of Ganong Bros. (Canada)
- "Sunkist Vitamin C & Supplements" are products of WN Pharmaceuticals (Canada)
- Sunkist juice and juice drinks can be found in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, several Persian Gulf countries, Belgium, Malta, Austria, and other countries.
 Sunkist fruit crate label