Cranberry Shipments Increase Gradually Until Peak Loadings in November

Cranberry Shipments Increase Gradually Until Peak Loadings in November

U.S. cranberry shipments are forecast to be 8.3 million (100-pound) barrels, up 4% from a year ago, according to The U.S. Cranberry Marketing Committee.

The U.S. Cranberry Marketing Committee, reports the majority of the cranberry crop is processed for juice concentrate and sweetened dried cranberries although the fresh and frozen category is growing.  

“Cranberries have a very small window when fresh cranberries are available because they are so perishable. The fruit is harvested within a six-to-eight-week timeframe in September and October, depending on weather and fruit maturity.  

Cranberries also are a unique product since it is only grown in the northern part of the U.S., unlike other specialty crops.

The 2022 crop experienced a variety of adverse weather across the country, beginning at the bloom stage in the Northwest and continuing with the extreme drought in the Northeast.

In addition, the upper Midwest experienced hail and other major weather events.  

This is significant since Wisconsin produces the majority of cranberries in the U.S.

Shipments of fresh product are expected well into December, while whole frozen cranberries are typically available all year.

The increasing demand for fresh, frozen and sweetened dried cranberries has been notable in the past five years, in part to growing exports.

Wisconsin is the biggest cranberry-producing state, statistics show. In 2021, Wisconsin is projected to produce 5.2 million barrels of cranberries or about 63% of U.S. output.

The Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association, says the expanded crop in Wisconsin and the U.S. should have good demand, considering lighter harvests in 2020 and 2021.

Cranberries are grown on 21,000 acres across 20 counties in Wisconsin, according to the association. The sand and peat marshes in central and northern Wisconsin create ideal growing conditions for cranberries.

During the early 1890s, the center of the Wisconsin cranberry industry shifted to the Cranmoor area, just west of Wisconsin Rapids. Later developments occurred in the Black River Falls, Warrens and Tomah areas, followed by cranberry farms in northern Wisconsin, primarily around Manitowish Waters, Eagle River, Spooner and Hayward.

Other leading cranberry growing states, according to the U.S. Cranberry Marketing Committee’s 2022 forecast, include:

  • Massachusetts: 1.89 million barrels
  • New Jersey:  550,000 barrels
  • Oregon:  510,000 barrels
  • Washington: 160,000 barrels

Less than 5% of the cranberry crop is sold fresh.
Fresh cranberry shipments have been stable in recent years, according to statistics from the U.S. Cranberry Marketing Committee. Fresh shipments in 2020 totaled 285,814 barrels, up a little more than 1% from 2019 and 2018. 

Processed cranberry sales have shown stronger growth in the last five years. The U.S. Cranberry Marketing Committee reported processed cranberry sales in 2020 were 5.78 million barrels, little changed from 2019 but up 10% from 2018.

Ocean Spray reports it will have ample fresh cranberries this fall. It is an agricultural cooperative owned by more than 700 cranberry farmers in the U.S., Canada and Chile.

The current 2022 crop forecast for Ocean Spray is over 7 million barrels, up from 6.6 million barrels of cranberries harvested in 2021. 

North American cranberry harvest is active from mid-September through about mid-November; Ocean Spray also markets cranberries from Chile, which are harvested from March through May.

The co-op sources fresh cranberries from British Columbia, New Brunswick, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Washington.

Oppy and Ocean Spray became partners in 2003 to market fresh cranberries.  

 Since then, Ocean Spray’s presence has expanded significantly to include strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, citrus and grapes through its partnership with Oppy.

Ocean Spray’s most popular fresh product is Ocean Spray Cranberries.

Americans typically consume about 80 million pounds of cranberries during Thanksgiving week alone.

The majority of Ocean Spray’s 12-ounce fresh cranberry bags ship in November.