Perhaps one of Thanksgiving’s biggest mysteries is cranberry sauce – and we’re not even talking about why people eat it: what’s wrong with upside-down labels on Ocean cans? Spray?
Attentive consumers have noticed that the Ocean Spray labels on cans of Cranberry Jelly Sauce are inverted, meaning the rounded edge that is typically found on the bottom of most canned goods is on top of the cans of Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce.
According to Ocean Spray, this is intentional: it creates a seamless service experience.
The cans are “filled and labeled upside down with the rounded edge on top and the box-shaped pointed edge on the bottom to keep the jelly together,” an Ocean Spray spokesperson told CNN Business. “This creates an air bubble on the rounded side (i.e. the top) so customers can ‘sweep the edge of the box with a knife to break the vacuum and the log will slide out easily. ”
This process has been used since the early 2000s.
Ingredients for a traditional Thanksgiving meal will cost shoppers 13.5% more this year than last year, market research firm IRI predicted earlier this month, using data from ‘october.
This includes cranberry sauce, the price of which rose about 18% from last year as cranberry crops are smaller this year, causing a supply shortage.
Harvesting the Wisconsin crop was “lower than expected,” said Tom Lochner, executive director of the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association, which produces much of the country’s cranberries.
“We’re scratching our heads,” he said, and we’re working with experts to determine the cause. For now, his best bet is to go from cold to warm to cool weather in the cranberry growing regions.
“We’ve rebounded again from last year,” he said, adding there shouldn’t be a shortage of cranberries this year.
Data from research firm IRI shows that fresh cranberries are actually cheaper this year than last, with prices down 9.9%. But that’s not the case with prepared cranberry sauces, where prices are on the rise.
Lochner pointed out that it’s the processors who set these prices, not the growers, and that there are higher input costs unrelated to the berries – such as “processing the fruit and bringing it to market.” .
Ocean Spray is also not immune. The company, which is an agricultural cooperative, told CNN Business that it also had to raise prices for its canned cranberry sauce, but declined to give a specific percentage.
“Like many companies, we have had to increase the cost of our sauce products slightly over the past year – the first time in nearly 10 years – to reflect current macro-economic pressures and production costs for our 700 family farmers,” a company spokesperson said.
– Danielle Wiener-Bronner of CNN Business contributed to this report.