The news will be a welcome relief to the industry as a wealth of scientific backing has built up supporting the positive effects of cranberries, particularly in the role of combating urinary tract infections. Companies have been in agreement that the harvest has been stable, but what has changed is the demand for the ingredient. Cranberries have become more and more popular. Last year globally 54 products were launched which contain the berry as an ingredient, compared to 900 this year, according to Mintel. LHI general manager Nicolai Jensen told NutraIngredients.com he was "confident" about continued cranberry powder supply. He said that despite contradicting market indications in media reports on harvest results for 2007 and availability throughout 2008, he remained positive further growth in the cranberry segment in European supplement markets. He expects the segment to benefit from increased focus and investments from suppliers and marketers alike and does not see the current pressure on supply and price as a long term threat. LHI's products include NutriCran90S - a spray-dried cranberry concentrate. Last month fears were sparked in America of a shortage after media reports said the year's harvest had been hit by unseasonable weather. According to 2006 estimates, the US and Canada produce about 7 to 7.6 million 100-pound barrels of cranberries every year. Ocean Spray - which is said to produce two-thirds of cranberries in the US - said the harvest had not been damaged, but instead fears of shortages are because of an increase in consumer demand. A spokesperson added that the harvest has been "virtually the same" as last year and feared shortages were down to consumers' increase interest in the berries. "Demand for the crop is growing as it is for other functional foods," she said. Companies have been eager to take advantage of the benefits of cranberries, including Chr Hansen which has launched a range of cranberry ingredients available for both the dietary supplement and functional food industries. Chr Hansen's NutriPhy Cranberry uses both the European (vaccinium oxycoccus) and North American (vaccinium macrocarpon) cranberry, and is aimed chiefly at preventing bacteria in the urinary tract. Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins which have been associated with having a positive effect in inhibiting the growth of human lung, colon and leukaemia cells in culture. Ocean Spray this summer announced it would expand its processing capacity in an effort to catch up with soaring global demand for products containing sweetened dried cranberries.