Ocean Spray unveils cost-conscious cranberry range

By Sarah Hills

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Ocean spray Cranberry

Ocean Spray's Ingredient Technology Group has formulated a lower cost sweetened dried cranberry (SDC) product to meet demand for cost-effective and value-added ingredients in the face of rising commodity prices.

The new Choice SDC line adds to its existing range of dried fruit ingredients and is said to offer the same health benefits and quality, but at a more competitive edge to meet the demands of a challenging market place.

The range is also said to bring flavour, colour and texture benefits to baked goods, cereals, bars and trail mixes, without impacting processing.

The launch comes at a time when food reformulation is expected to gather pace as manufacturers look to keep costs down after food prices rose to highs not seen for decades over the last year.

Kim Ionta, business development manager for Ocean Spray's Ingredient Technology Group, told FoodNavigator.com that the difference between Choice and the other products in the range was two additional ingredients – citric acid and elderberry juice concentrate.

She said: “The ingredients are slightly different but in terms of the product itself and its functionality, the taste, the colour and the process tolerance, it is the same.

“The different formulation is what allowed the price to be a little bit lower and we specifically formulated a product that would bring a lower cost option but still deliver on all the same benefits.”

Ionta said the thought process behind Choice started before the current global economic crisis. However, it was developed because the cost of other commodities and raw materials were increasing and, at the same time the price of cranberries had “increased a little”​ due to tight supply.

She added: “We wanted to offer our customers and companies a way to continue to develop healthy products with cranberries in it.”

The announcement also follows Ocean Spray’s expansion of its Wisconsin Rapids facility in the US in September, which was doubled in size to 440,000 square feet. It invested $75m to add two SDC production lines with the capacity to produce more than 30m pounds of sweetened dried cranberries per year.

Kristen Borsari, global senior marketing manager at Ocean Spray, said: "In today's challenging market conditions, we believe manufacturers who can find new ways to meet consumer demand for high quality, healthy foods at competitive prices will succeed.”

Borsari explained that its original SDCs offered a tart flavour profile in a low moisture ingredient suitable for specific applications.

The range was then expanded with the Classic Soft & Moist SDC, which it said “broadened the product's reach into a variety of functional food applications, adding premium value to trail mixes, baked goods and confectionery”​.

Now Choice is said to represent a move towards the next generation of SDC, “delivering a competitive edge in an increasingly demanding marketplace, while providing all of the advantages of sweetened dried cranberries"​.

Health benefits

Ocean Spray recently claimed that global demand for SDCs doubled over the last three years and this is predicted to double again over the next three.

Part of this growing demand has been driven by the associated health benefits of cranberries.

Consumers largely identify the cranberry's healthy attributes to its ability to help ward off urinary tract infections, with a strong body of science supporting these benefits.

The berries also contain anti-oxidants and are said to be good for heart health and to reduce ulcers and gum disease.

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