Cranberries

cranberriesRevised April 2024

Introduction 

Of all the fruits only three are native to North America, the cranberry is one of them. 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. 

Marketing 

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.  

Production 

Production in 2021 was down from previous years. Total production was 6.97 million barrels harvested or approximately 697 million pounds. Wisconsin is the leading producers of cranberries, producing 59 percent of the U.S. crop in 2021. Other leading cranberry producing states include Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Oregon. (USDA NASS 2022). The total acres of cranberries harvested in 2021 was 38,100 with average yield per acre of 185.7 barrels. The total value of the utilized U.S. cranberry production was $272.09 million, 94.9 percent of th value coming from processed cranberries. Domestically, the cranverry industry is dominated by a handful of grower/processors. Ocean Spray, one of the oldest grower-owned cooperative in the United States, represents over 600 cranberry growers in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington as well as producers in British Columbia and Quebec, Canada and Chile 

Prices 

The price per 100-pound barrel in 2021 averaged $69.80 for fresh cranberries and $38.10 per 100-pound barrel for processed cranberries, respectively (USDA NASS 2022). 

Sources

Cranberry Highlights. 2016. USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.

National Retail Report – Specialty Crops. Issued weekly by the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service.

Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts 2020 Summary. 2022 USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.