Fresh strawberries and blueberries started shipping the week of May 22 from Vancouver-based Oppy under new Ocean Spray brand Family Farmer Owned, said Kellyanne Dignan, senior manager of cooperative communications for Ocean Spray. Raspberries and blackberries will also be offered over the next couple of months.
The expansion means that, for the first time, a full berry program will be available year-round under an Ocean Spray brand. Oppy is the exclusive supplier of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries for the program, and Ocean Spray will continue to work with Oppy on cranberries as well.
“Ocean Spray was founded by three cranberry growers looking to expand the market for their fruit,” Clark Reinhard, vice president of innovation for Ocean Spray, said in a news release. “The brand is well known across multiple grocery aisles, but our presence in produce has been limited to just a few months of the year. The perimeter of the grocery store is growing fast, and by collaborating with Oppy our brand will be on fresh, high-quality produce from family farms year-round.
“While cranberries remain at the heart of what we do, bringing other berries to market under the same brand will be a huge benefit to growers, retailers and ultimately the consumer,” Reinhard said in the release.
Oppy, which first partnered with Ocean Spray in 2003 to market fresh cranberries, has been working to bolster its berry program.
“We conducted extensive research throughout North America over the past year and discovered a genuine enthusiasm for berries,” James Milne, vice president of marketing for Oppy, said in the release. “There is a clear opportunity for a strong brand like Ocean Spray to enter the market and capture people’s imaginations. This new innovation will disrupt an established category and offer a surprising new berry experience to the trade and consumers alike.”
A significant majority of Oppy's berries will be marketed in the Family Farmer Owned brand, said Karin Gardner, marketing communications manager for Oppy.
The new label is a nod to Ocean Spray’s history.
“While the logo and brand name are new, the fact that we are family farmer owned is not,” Dignan said. “Ocean Spray has been a cooperative for close to 90 years, and we’re very excited to communicate this rich heritage to consumers.”
Oppy has marketed fresh blueberries from New Jersey and North Carolina under the Ocean Spray brand in the past.