Ocean Spray builds European presence

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Ocean spray, Eastern europe, Cranberry

€70+m Ocean Spray Ingredient Technology Group has signed a distribution deal that demonstrates its commitment to educating southern and eastern Europeans about the health benefits of the cranberry and cranberry-infused foods and beverages.

In countries like Spain and Italy there is little cranberry eating culture, unlike in places like the UK and the US where cranberry has become the third most popular juice behind apple and orange.

Ocean Spray’s new alliance with global fruit and nut ingredient agency, Boesch Boden Spies, aims to change that, while giving Ocean Spray a presence in eastern Europe, where there is more of a tradition of eating the antioxidant-laden berries in their whole form “off the bush”.

“The southern European palettes are more accepting because they are used to it,” ​Kristen Girard, principal scientist in food ingredients at Ocean Spray Ingredient Technology Group told NutraIngredients. “More work is required in southern Europe.”

But even in eastern Europe, consumers would have to get used to consuming cranberry in new forms such as chilled juices and other cranberry-infused products such as baked and cereal items.

Ocean Spray’s cranberry juices and blends are not yet available in eastern or southern Europe and while the new project is predominantly focused on ingredients, the subsidiary of the US-based cooperative hoped to develop this market long-term also.

Done deals

Girard said Boesch Boden Spies was chosen as the distribution partner because of its “investment in personal and expertise and their dedication to Ocean Spray.”

Deals had been inked with end-product manufacturers in some of the countries that will be represented under the new deal that would cover eastern Europe as well as Spain, Portugal, France, Finland, Norway, Sweden as well as existing markets in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

”Our passion for fruit, teamed with our long experience in marketing fruit ingredients complement Ocean Spray’s success as a major brand in the food industry,” said Michael Rund, managing director at Boesch Boden Spies.

Boesch Boden Spies will distribute Ocean Spray’s BerryFusions Fruits, sweetened dried cranberries and 100 per cent fruit purée.

Ocean Spray’s UK agent, JO Sims, and Netherlands-based Contined will continue to represent Ocean Spray ingredients in the UK and Benelux respectively.

In France, a health claim has been available since 2004 relating cranberry consumption and easing urinary tract infections. It is the only cranberry-related health claim permitted anywhere in the world.

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