It all began at a golf course at St. Andrews. At the ninth green, Francis J. Mitchell received a telegram informing him he had lost all his money. Already 60 years old at the time, with three children to provide for, he decided to seek his fortune in India. This he found, though not without trials and tribulations, in a 720 acre plot of land near Renala Khurd, District Okara, which he leased from the Punjab government. This would become the first ever Mitchell’s fruit farm. Mr. Mitchell and his sons, Leonard and Richard, originally tried their luck with vine fruits, but switched to growing citrus fruits when the former proved unworkable. Luckily, citrus fruits were a success, and the lease was extended in 1930, allowing the company-Indian Mildura Fruit Farms Limited- to be registered in 1933.
The Company, with Francis Mitchell as its Governing Director and his two sons, Leonard and Richard, as Directors, was incorporated in 1933 and given the name Indian Mildura Fruit Farms Ltd, a small-scale operation for the processing of citrus fruit into concentrated soft drinks (squashes) and preserves. This early period of experimentation saw the use of improvised machinery for squash production: the juice extraction line consisted of a motorcar shaft with attached revolving reamers.
Certificate of Incorporation issued in the name of Indian Mildura Fruit Farms Ltd. at Lahore on 25th April, 1933.
Mitchell inspecting the first citrus harvest - c.1933.
An advertising poster from 1941 – 1942.
With the outbreak of World War II, demand for canned fruit and vegetables began to grow rapidly. In 1945 a new factory was established as Kissan Fruit Products (Pvt.) Ltd in Bangalore, South India to cater to this growing demand cost- effectively.
L. Mitchell - with factory under construction in the background - c.1941
Side view of the old office built in 1941
Office of Indian Mildura Fruit Farms Ltd., Renala Khurd, 1941; Jamadar Manzoor Husain, Security Guard, posing in front of the entrance
In 1946, Mitchell’s became the sole manufacturer and distributor of their world famous Rose’s brand of Lime Juice Cordial and Lime Marmalade in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Roller press for extraction of lime juice –1941
Roller press for extraction of lime juice –1941 Semi-automatic Citrus Juice Extractors - 1941
After independence, in1948, the company’s name was changed from Indian Mildura Fruit Farms to Mitchell’s Fruit Farms Ltd and the brand name “MITCHELL’S” became the exclusive property of the Pakistani company.
Certificate issued by the Registrar, Joint Stock Companies,West Punjab, authorising change of the name of the company from Indian Mildura Fruit Farms Ltd. to Mitchell’s Fruit Farms Ltd. on 13th October, 1948.
Two of the three founders of the company, Francis Mitchell and Leonard Mitchell, died – the father in 1933 and the son in 1948 – leaving Richard Mitchell as Chairman and Managing Director of the company.
1933 – 1949
1933 – 1949
Richard Mitchell decided to retire in 1957 and, as a consequence, negotiated the sale of his shares.
In 1958 , majority shares in Mitchell’s Fruit Farms Ltd. were bought by members of Syed Maratib Ali’s family, who have maintained their interest ever since.”
Company stall at the Annual Fruit and Vegetable Show in Lahore,1958, marking the Silver Jubilee of the company.
In 1980, the company diversified into confectionery, making sugar candies, milk toffees and chocolate eclairs, which resulted in its annual sales being doubled. Since then, the quality of products has been constantly upgraded and new varieties have been added to the growing product range.
The company passed a major milestone when it went public in 1993. Mitchell’s continues to maintain its edge by relying on its dynamic team whose skills are being constantly updated. Maintaining consistent quality has kept the most prestigious national institutions loyal to Mitchell’s growing product range. The company was listed on the stock exchange in 1996.
In 1998, Mitchell’s achieved a major milestone: ISO 9001 accreditation. Mitchell’s takes pride in becoming the first food company in Pakistan to achieve this prestigious distinction.
ISO 9001 accreditation
In 2001, the company’s first molded chocolate line was established, and it moved into the production of enrobed chocolate bars in 2004.
Moulded Chocolate Line - 2001
Chocolate Enrobing Line – 2004
2007 and 2008, was an era of major modernization, during which most of its production lines were upgraded both in the confectionery and grocery section.
Sugar Confectionery wrapping section
A contemporary view of the Groceries Processing Hall
Updated Can Retorting Equipment, commissioned in late 2008