Cracker Barrel on Regulating Responsibility

Business and the Environment

“Ocean Spray’s Creative Juices”

Ocean Spray’s cranberry growers’ cooperative dates to the 1930s, but when overproduction caused the price of cranberries to fall well below the amount promised to cooperative members earlier this decade what was Ocean Spray to do?

In the words of Businessweek, “It is a dilemma that has sparked frenetic cranberry-fueled creativity.”

So, now we have Craisins (empty cranberry hulls that used to be discarded) and Cran-you-name-it juice.  And, for the hipper crowd – Cosmos and Crantinis.

Ocean Spray maintains its hold on the cranberry market – having outsourced logistics to Pepsi Co. in a 2006 agreement.

So far, so good.

But, how to reconcile increased demand for cranberries and keep the supply comin’?

Ocean Spray is developing a large tract of land in New Bruinswick for cranberry production.

Roger Babin from the neighbouring village of Acadieville is concerned. “Whoever approved this project must not care too much about the environment. This is my opinion. I’ve talked to people, some who used to go to this area for pleasure and now they hate to go there for a drive. Seeing what is happening hurts them. Others seem happy that work is being generated. We saw around 30 pieces of machinery working today. Yes, there is work, but at what price?” said Babin.

At the end of the project, Ocean Spray must restore areas of wetland loss caused by infill from the project back to functional wetland. Babin wonders whether restoration of the wetlands is possible.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is poised to buyout $18 million of cranberry surplus.

See link below for more in-depth analysis:

Jesse, EdwardV., and Richard T. Rogers. The Cranberry Industry and Ocean Spray Cooperative: Lessons in Cooperative Governance, January 2006.

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