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Thanksgiving surge in demand

Cranberry growers paid below cost of production again

With sales still largely residing in North America, the cranberry industry is looking at several ways to boost its growth opportunities. 

“There’s good demand for fresh cranberries in Europe and there’s a glimmer in Asia—but demand in those markets could be largely from ex-patriots because few understand what cranberries are all about,” says Bob Wilson, sales for Wisconsin Rapids, WI-based The Cranberry Network LLC. “So the industry is spending good promotional dollars creating cranberry awareness in foreign markets with hopes of good growth outside of North America.” 

The Thanksgiving surge 
Right now, Wilson notes that 55 to 60 per cent of fresh cranberry sales happen in November with another uptick in early December. “But the majority of cranberries are used on the process side and that’s where the majority of income for growers comes,” he says. “We’re in an odd situation where we have an excess supply but it’s principally in cranberry juice concentrate inventory. We didn’t carry through a high volume of frozen fruit from the prior year—in fact the warehouses were clean.” That high (concentrate) inventory has in turn contributed to a depressed market. “So growers are going to be likely paid below the cost of production once again,” Wilson adds. “This is a number of years in a row and it’s this imbalance between supply and demand, principally in the area of juice concentrate, causing it.” 

New products being developed
Along with that expansion beyond North America, the industry is also boosting its efforts into two areas, the first being new products. “Cranberries are largely used in juice or a sweetened dried cranberry,” says Wilson. “Products that may contribute to increased utilization include powder products that could be made from an extract, the whole berry or cranberry by-products.” 

In addition, the industry is eyeing continued health research around daily consumption of various cranberry-based products. “There are attributes in cranberries that are unique. They’re known for having positive effects on urinary tract health, bacteria and inflammation. So we’re investing in laboratory research and clinical trials to see if there are more attributes we can identify and then further differentiate cranberries from its closest competitors (other fruits),” says Wilson. “With that comes our next level of demand.” 

For more information:
Bob Wilson
The Cranberry Network LLC
+1 715 422 0410