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Ocean Spray committed to holiday cranberries

by John Groh | November 11, 2011

With solid cranberry crops in its four growing regions, Ocean Spray said that supply for the remainder of the season looks to be as strong as ever and it is committed to promoting quality fruit through December this year and in future years.

That represents a change for Ocean Spray, the leading supplier of branded cranberries in North America, which in past years had not promoted fruit beyond Thanksgiving.

“We realize that there is consumer demand for cranberries in December, and we decided to make a concerted effort to meet that demand going forward,” said Scott Simmons, Ocean Spray’s general manager of produce.

Mr. Simmons described last year as a “challenging” one for the cranberry crop due to weather-related issues.

“At the end of last year, we sat down and took a good look at our business as a whole,” he said. “We decided we would focus on maintaining supply, keeping quality, and food safety for fruit into December.”

Mr. Simmons said that harvest in the firm’s two largest growing regions — Quebec and Wisconsin — has delivered “exceptional quality and supply” this year, complementing the strong crops out of Massachusetts and Washington/British Columbia. As a result, “we will have good-quality fruit through December, which is a great time to promote fresh cranberries. Aside from baking, customers look for colorful decorating ideas, and fresh cranberries provide a number of unique and festive options.”

The Oppenheimer Group, which is the Vancouver, BC-based sales agent for Ocean Spray, has mobilized its business development team and is working with Ocean Spray’s customers with the objective of getting orders now for December, said Mr. Simmons.

While no specific retail promotions are planned in support of cranberries in December, Mr. Simmons said that Ocean Spray and Oppenheimer would be working with retailers to effectively display fresh cranberries.

“That presents the best opportunity to move more fruit,” he said.