Few items in the produce department say “here come the holidays” like Ocean Spray® fresh cranberries. The festive season’s favorite fruit is almost here, with Oppy’s first Ocean Spray® cranberries shipments scheduled for right around the first day of autumn.
“The tradition is back!” said Tony Illiano, the category manager who leads Oppy’s exclusive annual Ocean Spray® cranberry campaign. “We are excited to bring the essential berry of the season to our customers once again in this trusted brand. Ocean Spray is a farmer-owned cooperative, and grows cranberries in several North American regions, which have all experienced a good growing season, setting the stage for high quality cranberries on holiday tables this year.”
The cranberry is a perennial crop, meaning that a single vine can produce cranberries from generation to generation.
“Cranberries are one of only three native North American cultivated fruits,” said Eric Sinsigalli, sales director at Ocean Spray. “In essence, the way cranberries grow is naturally good for the environment because they are growing in a climate and region where they naturally occur. Due to this and other practices, every one acre of cranberry farm conserves over five acres of surrounding wetlands.”
Amongst the regions specifically, Wisconsin growers expect to supply more of the new hybrid varieties of cranberries, known as HyReds and Scarlet Knights, which reach their peak color by mid-September. East Coast berries should be strong thanks to recent favorable weather and agricultural conditions. Eastern Canadian berries are expected to have high quality and volume, based on warm, dry weather patterns. Following a record crop in 2018, fresh cranberry yields in the Pacific Northwest are forecast to be down this year, and quality is good. Finally, Ocean Spray’s organic cranberries are increasing in volumes now and can be expected to continue to increase in the future.
Brett Libke, Oppy senior vice president of sales, notes that Ocean Spray’s presence in the produce department has risen significantly in the last two years, now that the brand extends beyond cranberries to include strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and citrus through its partnership with Oppy.
“We’ve developed a strategic relationship that our customers and their shoppers have responded to well,” he said. “Between produce and center store, Ocean Spray can have up to 52 facings at any given time. That’s a really powerful brand proposition, which we’ve grown together in produce, starting with cranberries over a decade and a half ago and adding a strong berry and citrus program.”
This season, shoppers will find Ocean Spray® cranberries displayed in newly designed 12-oz. bags on free-standing display units showing how to bring fresh cranberries into favorite holiday dishes. Last season, retailers saw a 78 percent year-over-year sales lift when using the Ocean Spray® bins, along with a 147 percent increase in dollar velocity.
“Ocean Spray is excited to launch new fresh cranberry packaging this season,” Sinsigalli said. “The new graphics will continue drive awareness of Ocean Spray’s heritage as a farmer-owned cooperative since 1930 while also showcasing the versatility of usage occasions for fresh cranberries through recipes.”