- Ocean Spray introduced an upcycled Cranberry Seeds product said to have 1.6 times more fiber than chia and flax seeds as well as zinc, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids. Because the seeds are upcycled from food waste, they support a zero-waste supply chain, the agricultural cooperative said.
- The sustainably grown seeds have a neutral flavor but add a natural, vibrant red color and supplemental nutritional properties to applications such as baking, smoothies or snack bars, according to the company.
- The cooperative is working to diversify its portfolio of cranberry-related products. It has recently expanded its core product offerings to bring it more closely into alignment with current trends, and has entered new categories including functional water.
Health and wellness is a major trend driving development of company portfolios, and functional offerings in this space have only become more appealing to consumers during the pandemic.
Ocean Spray has the advantage of being associated with cranberries, an antioxidant-rich ingredient. Cranberries have also been linked to preventing certain types of cancer, increased immune functionality and lower blood pressure. They are also the foundation of Ocean Spray’s product line, which is naturally positioned in the better-for-you category.
Although cranberries remain the core of the cooperative’s business, Ocean Spray has been pushing its traditional boundaries in recent months. It leveraged its Lighthouse Innovation Incubator to create a line of CBD water called CarryOn and Atoka blended plant-based beverages, which are sweetened with sugar. Last month, it launched the B1U line of functional waters. More recently, the company partnered with Amai Proteins to reconfigure its cranberry juice to develop a product with 40% less sugar.
This strategy for expansion could expand the appeal of the Ocean Spray brand, which has long been dominated by a roster of traditional products. Although the new upcycled seeds are still a component of this cranberry-centric product line, the product also aims to appeal to consumers who are environmentally conscientious and support sustainable business practices, a trend that has become even more of a consideration during the pandemic.
In its press release, Ocean Spray did not specify how much food waste it will save annually from upcycling the seeds for the new product. But with 220 billion cranberries harvested by the company every year, it could be a substantial quantity.
Experts predict demand for upcycled food to climb as shoppers' purchasing decisions are increasingly influenced by sustainability. Last year, the food waste business was worth about $46.7 billion, and is predicted to grow 5% over the next decade, according to a study by Future Marketing Insights.
By launching a product that appeals to two different trends simultaneously, Ocean Spray is continuing to experiment and innovate in a bid to continue to expand its brand. This could prove Ocean Spray is more than just a cranberry company with a portfolio that is naturally better-for-you.