Revised, February 2016
The cranberry is native to North America. It is a perennial crop grown commercially in man-made wetlands or bogs in primarily five states in the U.S. Americans consume nearly 400 million pounds of cranberries per year, 20 percent of them during Thanksgiving week. The U.S. per capita consumption of cranberries is 2.3 pounds, almost entirely in the form of juice or juice blends. Cranberries are at the top of the list of healthy foods. Besides being high in vitamin C, manganese and fiber, cranberries are rich in phyto-nutrients (naturally derived plant compounds), particularly proanthocyanidin antioxidants, which are essential for all-round wellness.
Cranberries, once traditionally consumed seasonally with holiday turkeys, are now consumed year round in processed forms. Fresh market cranberries are stored following harvest until it is time to package and ship berries out for the U.S. holiday market. Only about 5 percent of cranberries produced in the U.S. are sold fresh and the remaining 95 percent are processed, most commonly for juice and juice blends. Most cranberry growers sell their production on contract. A handful of companies purchase cranberries directly from growers. Massachusetts-based Ocean Spray accounts for about 80 percent of raw cranberry purchases. Other handlers include Northland Cranberries, Inc., Wisconsin; Decas Cranberry Products, Massachusetts; Clement Pappas & Company, Inc., New Jersey; and Cliffstar Corporation, New York.
The forecast for U.S. cranberry production in 2015 was up slightly from 2014, at 841.27 million pounds. Wisconsin is the leading producer of cranberries, producing nearly 60 percent of the crop. Other leading cranberry producing states include Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington. (USDA NASS 2015). The total acres harvested in 2014 was 40,500, with average yield per acre of 10.3 tons, ranging from 4.9 to nearly 12 tons per acre. Domestically, the cranberry industry is dominated by a handful of grower/processors. Ocean Spray, one of the oldest grower-owned cooperative in the United States, represents about 600 cranberry growers in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington as well as in British Columbia and other parts of Canada.The total value of the utilized US production was $254.41 million, 93 percent of the value coming from processed cranberries.
The price averaged $31.10 per 100-pound barrel in 2014, with prices decreasing annually since a high in 2009. (USDA NASS 2015).
Cranberries. 2015. USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Cranberry Highlights. 2014. USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts 2014 Summary. 2015 USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.
National Retail Report – Specialty Crops. Issued weekly by the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service.