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Capitalizing on double-digit sales growth in its dried fruit line over the past six years, Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. has recently released and begun shipping a line of whole dried fruit.

The new line will have three items: cranberries, cherries and blueberries. The cranberries and cherries will come in five-ounce packages, while the blueberries will be available in four-ounce packages. All packaging will be clear to highlight the product and promote the image of freshness.

They will be shipped in 12-count cases, and Ocean Spray will offer a 72- count display shipper available in two options - all cranberries, or mixed with three cases of cranberries, two cases of cherries and one case of blueberries.

"The placement will be in produce, as a specialty item, and we are very excited about the opportunity," Scott Simmons, general manager of produce for Ocean Spray, told The Produce News Aug 24. "It's not to be merchandised in the grocery section like traditional dried fruit. They are whole dried fruit, and are sweetened using natural flavoring with sugar. We will have national distribution, and sales will be handled by The Oppenheimer Group, a leader in the produce industry, and who also represents our fresh cranberry and blueberry offerings."

Mr. Simmons said that through recent research, the firm has learned that consumers will recognize and respect the "Ocean Spray" brand name on other fruits well beyond cranberries.

"The 'Ocean Spray' name resonates quality," he said, adding that "it is an opportunity to reach that produce consumer who is looking for a high- quality, on-the-go, healthy snack."