Craisins Sweeten Ocean Spray's Year-Round Appeal

by , Nov 27, 2006, 5:00 AM
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Thanksgiving weekend may be over, but Ocean Spray Cranberries has turned cranberry season into a year-long affair.

Sales of its dried, sweetened cranberry Craisins are up 100 percent over two years, and they represent the fastest-growing segment for the cranberry growers' cooperative. Sales volume for the dried snack is expected to double again to $300 million, says Ocean Spray CEO Randy C. Papadellis.

Sales of Craisins are relatively small compared to Ocean Spray's total annual sales of $1.5 billion. But their promise is one factor behind the company's plan to quadruple cranberry output, according to Papadellis.

Ocean Spray seems to have cornered the dried cranberry market in sales and taste. American Culinary ChefsBest, an independent, chef-based organization that recognizes and honors the best products in America, last week named Ocean Spray Craisins the best-tasting sweetened dried cranberries over those produced by Mariani and Sunmaid.

Craisins are hardly an overnight success. Ocean Spray began producing them a decade ago, and sales started taking off only in the last four years.

Papadellis says sales are evenly split between those at the retail level and those going to baked goods makers, cereal makers and others who use the Craisins as an ingredient. Ocean Spray has a more than 7 percent share of all dried fruits sold in grocery stores.

Another reason for Craisins' popularity may be attributed to marketing. The product is one featured in "Straight From The Bog" advertising that took the "good for you" positioning in a new direction using a pair of cranberry growers to tell the Ocean Spray story.

Women have long been aware of the urinary tract health benefits of cranberries. Just one-third cup of Craisins yields the same benefit as a serving of cranberry juice cocktail.

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