US cranberry ingredients company Ocean Spray ITG has appointed Jim Lesser as group marketing manager of ITG & Foods Team. The move is part of an internal restructure which sees the Ingredient Technology Group and Foods team merging into one business unit.
"The restructuring brought to the ingredients business the people with consumer knowledge and insight, and the consumer group will now have the technical support of ITG. As we talk to manufacturers we can pass on our knowledge of the consumer demand," said Lesser.
He added that European business is currently about a quarter of the size of the company's domestic market but that European sales had doubled in the last year with similar growth expected in the coming years.
"A number of new food categories have opened up in Europe and consumers are starting to see the value of products with added cranberries," said Lesser. "However we'd like to strengthen the market in Southern Europe - this will be a tremendous opportunity, but also a challenge. There seems to be less awareness of the product than in the UK where the cranberry flavour is most developed."
The new team will be responsible for marketing ITG's Craisins brand (sweetened dried cranberries), cranberry sauces and fresh cranberries and also its portfolio of industrial cranberry ingredients.