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Ocean Spray cuts jobs


Ocean Spray, the US cranberry grower co-operative and juicemaker, continues to make the news with the announcement on Monday that it has axed 58 corporate-level jobs in a bid to streamline the company and help it restore profitability for its growers-owners.

All but four of the job cuts occurred at the cranberry headquarters in Lakeville, Massachusetts, and included four vice presidents and eight other executive-level managers.

The cranberry co-operative, which has not yet recovered from the aftershock of an industry-wide surplus of cranberries in the late 1990s, last autumn set in motion steps to reorganise the structure of the company.

In early March, Ocean Spray growers voted to replace most of its board in the face of sagging cranberry prices and also rejected a $800 million bid for its juice business from US rival Northland Cranberries.

"The steps we're taking organisationally in the company and strategically in the marketplace are designed to speed up the conversion of brand gains into grower gains," said Randy Papadellis, president and COO of Ocean Spray.

Despite the job losses, and the difficulties the company has faced in recent years, Papadellis remained bullish about the future of Ocean Spray, commenting on Monday that "despite its widely publicised issues over the past several months, Ocean Spray actually is in its strongest market position in more than five years".

According to Ocean Spray, the success of the company's latest innovation, its white cranberry juice drinks line launched last year, has contributed to a 53.5 per cent rise in market share for the brand's core line of cranberry beverages in the US juice aisle over the past two years. The white cranberry line is a growing $100 million business for Ocean Spray, the company stressed.

Ongoing research on both sides of the Atlantic into the health virtues of cranberries can only serve to boost Ocean Spray on its path to profitability.

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