Ocean Spray (cooperative)

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Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.
Agricultural marketing cooperative
Founded1930 (1930) in Hanson, Massachusetts
FoundersMarcus L. Urann

Elizabeth F. Lee

John C. Makepeace
Lakeville-Middleborough, Massachusetts
United States
Key people
James White (Interim CEO, 2020)
ProductsCranberries, grapefruit
Revenue$2 billion[1]
Number of employees

Ocean Spray is an American agricultural cooperative of growers of cranberries and grapefruit headquartered in Plymouth County, Massachusetts. It currently has over 700 member growers (in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, Florida, British Columbia and other parts of Canada, as well as Chile). The cooperative employs about 2,000 people, with sales of $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2013 and account for 70% of North American cranberry production.[2] Their products include cranberry sauce, fruit juices, fruit snacks, and dried cranberries.

The cooperative has made a number of innovations, including the first juice blend,[3] the first juice boxes,[4] and sweetened dried cranberries (Craisins). Its cranberry juice won the ChefsBest Award for best taste.[5]


Ocean Spray was formed in 1930, in Hanson, Massachusetts, by three cranberry growers who wanted to expand their market for cranberries. Led by growers Marcus L. Urann, Elizabeth F. Lee and John C. Makepeace, who had created a cranberry sauce, the cooperative developed more cranberry-based products. In the same year Ocean Spray became the first producer of cranberry juice drinks with the introduction of Cranberry Juice Cocktail. (A.D. Makepeace Company, one of the original founders of Ocean Spray, has been in continual operation since the late 19th century and is currently the world's largest grower of cranberries.)

In 1963, executive Edward Gelsthorpe worked with Sylvia Schur to develop Cranapple juice, a product that brought the cranberry to greater popularity and increased usage to year-round, earning Gelsthorpe the nickname "Cranapple Ed".[6]

In 1976, the cooperative expanded its membership to grapefruit growers in Florida.

Processing plant near Babcock, Wisconsin

In September 2004, Ocean Spray agreed to purchase the processing assets of Northland Cranberry.[7] This acquisition included a juice production facility in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.[8]

In June 2004, Ocean Spray members voted down a joint venture of the cooperative's beverage business with PepsiCo.[9] Pepsi had offered the co-op $100 million, an assumption of debt and fixed prices for cranberry harvests. In July 2006, the cooperative signed a 25-year single-serve (machine-dispensed) juice distribution deal with Pepsi.[10]

In June 2006, at the request of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Ocean Spray agreed to end its support for animal experiments. Previously, Ocean Spray had funded tests involving infecting mice with H. pylori, bacteria that cause stomach ulcers, and then feeding them cranberry juice to see if it had any positive effect. These experiments were conducted to determine the usefulness of Ocean Spray's cranberry juice as a digestif.[11]

Ocean Spray completed expansion of the Wisconsin Rapids processing plant in September 2008. The addition doubles the facility size to 440,000 sq ft (41,000 m2)., making it the world's largest cranberry processing facility. The plant has numerous environmentally friendly features including a wastewater treatment facility, energy-efficient lighting, and the use of methane from the nearby Veolia Cranberry Creek Landfill for boiler fuel. With the addition, the plant will produce Craisins, in addition to currently produced juice concentrates.[12]

Ocean Spray product in Israel

Throughout 2012, Ocean Spray contributed $387,100 to a $46 million political campaign known as "The Coalition Against The Costly Food Labeling Proposition, sponsored by Farmers and Food Producers".[13] This organization was set up to oppose a citizen's initiative, known as Proposition 37, demanding mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients.

Ocean Spray has juice-filling facilities in Henderson, Nevada; Sulphur Springs, Texas; Allentown, Pennsylvania; and Kenosha, Wisconsin.[14]

The interim CEO of the Ocean Spray cooperative is James White.


  1. ^ https://www.owler.com/company/oceanspray
  2. ^ Nosowitz, Dan (22 November 2017). "The Cranberry Industry Is Wild". Modern Farmer. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  3. ^ "Who We Are - Heritage - Our History | Ocean Spray". oceanspray.com. 2014. Archived from the original on January 10, 2015. Retrieved December 26, 2014.[self-published source]
  4. ^ Pressman, Aaron (May 15, 2006). "Ocean Spray's Creative Juices - Businessweek". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on December 30, 2014. Retrieved December 26, 2014.
  5. ^ "Ocean Spray 100% Juice Cranberry Blends - ChefsBest". chefsbest.com. Archived from the original on December 26, 2014. Retrieved December 26, 2014.
  6. ^ Grimes, William. "Edward Gelsthorpe, Master Marketer, Dies at 88" Archived March 25, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times, September 27, 2009. Accessed September 29, 2009.
  7. ^ "Company News; Ocean Spray buys Northland's processing assets". Company News. The New York Times. September 25, 2004. Archived from the original on October 24, 2012. Retrieved 2008-03-30.
  8. ^ "Northland sells cranberry processing business to Ocean Spray". The Business Journal of Milwaukee. September 24, 2004. Archived from the original on October 13, 2004. Retrieved 2008-03-30.
  9. ^ Konrad, Alex (November 13, 2013). "Bigger Than Craisins: Can A Third Way To Sell Cranberries Keep Ocean Spray Fresh? - Forbes". forbes.com. Archived from the original on December 26, 2014. Retrieved December 26, 2014.
  10. ^ Montague-Jones, Guy (October 21, 2009). "Ocean Spray extends Pepsi partnership beyond cranberry". beveragedaily.com. Archived from the original on February 19, 2016. Retrieved December 26, 2014.
  11. ^ Goodman, Brenda. "Pepsi and Coke Agree to Stop Financing Research That Uses Animals" Archived June 5, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times, May 31, 2007. Accessed May 12, 2016.
  12. ^ Hayes, Liz (September 23, 2008). "Expansion Makes Rapids Ocean Spray Largest Cranberry Processer in World". WSAW-TV. Retrieved 2008-10-06.
  13. ^ Spiers, Katherine (July 9, 2012). "Prop 37: The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act". KCET. Archived from the original on 2013-07-03.
  14. ^ Kostelni, Natalie (April 24, 2014). "Ocean Spray opens facility in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley - Philadelphia Business Journal". Philadelphia Business Journal. Archived from the original on June 30, 2014. Retrieved September 9, 2014.

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