Ocean Spray headquartered in Lakeville/Middleborough, 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 $2.2 billion in fiscal year 2013 and account for 70% of North American cranberry production.
The cooperative has made a number of innovations, including the first juice blend, the first juice boxes, and sweetened dried cranberries (Craisins). Its cranberry juice won the ChefsBest Award for best taste.
Ocean Spray was formed in 1930, in Hanson, Massachusetts, by three cranberry growers who wanted to expand their market for cranberries. Led by grower Marcus L. Urann, 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.
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”.
In 1976, the cooperative expanded its membership to grapefruit growers in Florida.
In September 2004, Ocean Spray agreed to purchase the processing assets of Northland Cranberry. This acquisition included a juice production facility in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.
In June 2004, Ocean Spray members voted down a joint venture of the cooperative’s beverage business with PepsiCo. 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.
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.
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.
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”. 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.