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Frieda Rapoport Caplan

American businesswoman

Frieda Rapoport Caplan is ...


Born 10 August 1923
Died 18 January 2020
Age 96 years, 5 months

Sex or gender female
Country of citizenship United States of America
Occupation businessperson
Educated at University of California, Los Angeles

About Frieda Rapoport Caplan

Frieda Rapoport Caplan, born on August 10, 1923, is a trailblazing American businesswoman who revolutionized the produce industry. She is the founder of Frieda's Inc., a specialty produce company that introduced exotic fruits and vegetables to the American market.

Caplan was born in Los Angeles, California, to Russian immigrant parents. She grew up in a family of grocers and developed a passion for produce at a young age. In 1956, she started working at her husband's wholesale produce company, where she noticed a lack of diversity in the produce industry. Caplan saw an opportunity to introduce new and exciting fruits and vegetables to American consumers.

In 1962, Caplan founded Frieda's Inc. and began importing and distributing exotic produce such as kiwi, mango, and jicama. She faced resistance from retailers who were hesitant to stock unfamiliar items, but she persevered and eventually gained a loyal following of customers who were eager to try new and exciting foods.

Caplan's innovative approach to produce earned her numerous accolades, including the Specialty Food Association's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. She has also been inducted into the California Agricultural Hall of Fame and the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Caplan's impact on the produce industry cannot be overstated. She paved the way for a more diverse and inclusive market, and her legacy continues to inspire generations of entrepreneurs. As she once said, "I never thought of myself as a pioneer. I just did what I loved to do."


- "Frieda Rapoport Caplan." National Women's Hall of Fame,

- "Frieda Caplan, 'Kiwi Queen' Who Transformed the Produce Aisle, Dies at 96." The New York Times, 20 Jan. 2020,

- "Frieda's Specialty Produce." Frieda's Specialty Produce,

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