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Ocean Spray’s commitment to environmental sustainability

Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., headquartered in Middleboro, MA, is committed to reducing its impact on the environment and becoming a leader in environmental sustainability, which is consistent with the company’s heritage, said Scott Simmons, general manager of produce.

“We have an environmental sustainability policy and strategy to integrate all of our efforts and guide us on our continuing journey to make this a top priority throughout the enterprise,” said Mr. Simmons. “Our focus is in five main areas: sustainable agriculture, water management, climate change, packaging reduction and waste minimization.”

Ocean Spray Cranberries, Mr. Simmons added, has set targets for the next five years in specific focus areas and is measuring its progress in; 15 percent reduction in water consumption; 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption; 20 percent reduction in virgin packaging material; and 25 percent reduction in waste.

The company produces cranberries in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Washington, British Columbia and Quebec. Each of the four growing regions is responsible for one or more of the six cranberry varieties that mature at different times during the season.

“Our goal is to meet the demands of our customer base with a number of varieties that mature at different times of the season, allowing for fresh cranberries throughout the holidays,” said Mr. Simmons.

The Oppenheimer Group continues to handle Ocean Spray’s fresh-cranberry sales, and Mr. Simmons said it would continue its partnership in the future.

“They really do a great job representing Ocean Spray to all of our fresh-cranberry customers,” Mr. Simmons noted. “In addition, the Oppenheimer Group is also licensed to sell fresh blueberries under the ‘Ocean Spray’ label.”

Promotional programs planned for the coming season at Ocean Spray Cranberries includes a cross promotion with Concord Foods.

“Consumers will have the opportunity to redeem a $1-off coupon on 12-ounce bags of ‘Ocean Spray’ fresh cranberries,” said Mr. Simmons. “Coupons will be available on specialty marked ‘Concord Foods’ Cranberry Bread and Sweet Potato Mix.

“Additionally, this October, Ocean Spray will be serving-up more than 2,000-pounds of cranberries at its 1,500-square-foot cranberry bogs in New York City’s Rockefeller Center and at Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL, during the ‘Epcot International Food & Wine Festival,” he continued. “Third-, fourth- and fifth-generation cranberry growers will be on site to talk to consumers about the taste, health and heritage of the cranberry.”

He added that Disney is offering “Craisins” Dried Cranberries at various retail locations, including theme parks, cruise ships, meeting rooms and hotels. “Craisins” are the official snack of Disney Parks & Resorts.

Ocean Spray was founded in 1930 by three cranberry growers. Led by Marcus L. Urann, lawyer and grower, the three began developing new and innovative products made from cranberries.

The cooperative’s first product was jellied cranberry sauce, followed by original “Ocean Spray” Cranberry Juice Cocktail, which was launched in the early 1930s. Thus began a long tradition of quality, innovation and success.

Since that time, the Ocean Spray cooperative has grown to more than 600 grower families across North America.

Cranberries are said to be one of the most unique fruits in the world. One of only three fruits native to North America — the others are said to be Concord grapes and blueberries — cranberries grow in the wild on long-running vines in sandy bogs and marshes. While they are harvested primarily in the Northeast, cranberries also grow in other parts of North America, including Wisconsin, Canada and the Pacific Northwest.

Cranberries were not farmed on a large scale until the 1800s. Growers initially picked the berries by hand, but eventually a more efficient dry-harvesting technique was developed. This revolutionized the process with an idea called wet harvesting. By flooding the bog with water, the cranberry’s buoyancy allows it to float to the surface, where they are then collected.