Ocean Spray completes $75M expansion project

RP news wires, Noria Corporation

Ocean Spray on September 23 celebrated the completion of the expansion of its Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., facility which doubled the plant's size to 440,000 square feet, making it the largest cranberry processing plant in the world.


"Ocean Spray is exactly the kind of company we are excited to have here in Wisconsin," said Governor Jim Doyle. "I am pleased the state is able to partner with Ocean Spray to expand their facility in Wisconsin Rapids, and create 100 jobs for hardworking Wisconsin families."

"The Ocean Spray brand is stronger than ever," said Randy Papadellis, president and CEO of Ocean Spray. "As we commemorate the expansion of the Wisconsin Rapids sweetened dried cranberry production plant, we reinforce Ocean Spray's partnership with the state of Wisconsin and our dedication to growing more cranberries and creating additional jobs in the Badger State. If we can build on this partnership and add more cranberries, there could be even more added expansion and jobs to this facility in the future ... but we need the fruit."


Ocean Spray invested $75 million, the largest capital investment the company has made in a manufacturing facility, to add two sweetened dried cranberry production lines to the Wisconsin Rapids plant. The facility incorporates some of the latest technologies in energy and environmental efficiency, bringing the total incremental investment in the facility to over $90 million during the last three years. These include a wastewater treatment facility, energy-efficient lighting, and an expansion of the system that converts methane from the Veolia Cranberry Creek Landfill into clean energy to power the plant. A fully-racked warehouse for both ingredients and finished goods allows increased storage on a smaller footprint.


"Ocean Spray's continued investment here demonstrates our commitment to the great state of Wisconsin," said Ocean Spray chairman of the board Francis Podvin, an attorney and lifelong resident of Wisconsin Rapids. "With the talented and dedicated people at this plant and the local grower community, we will continue to strengthen our brand and focus our resources on innovation, creativity and creating additional demand for our products. I am filled with pride by the spirit of economic growth and the anticipation of additional agricultural expansion in this area."


Consumer demand for Ocean Spray sweetened dried cranberries continues to increase. Global demand for Ocean Spray sweetened dried cranberries has doubled over the last three years and is expected to double again over the next three. Currently, Ocean Spray sweetened dried cranberries are featured as ingredients in more than 1,000 different grocery, bakery and dairy products internationally.


"Ocean Spray is a terrific partner and friend of Wisconsin Rapids," said Mayor Mary Jo Carson. "This expansion brings with it not only a modern and energy efficient manufacturing facility but good jobs for our neighbors."


The 125,000-square-foot expansion houses patented state-of-the-art technology to manufacture sweetened dried cranberries for ingredient customers and for consumers under the Craisins brand. When both production lines are operational by March 2009, the plant will have the capacity to produce more than 30 million pounds of sweetened dried cranberries per year for Ocean Spray.


About Ocean Spray:

Ocean Spray is an agricultural cooperative owned by more than 600 cranberry growers in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and other parts of Canada as well as more than 50 Florida grapefruit growers. Ocean Spray was formed more than 75 years ago by three cranberry growers from Massachusetts and New Jersey. Florida grapefruit growers joined the cooperative in 1976. Ocean Spray is North America's leading producer of canned and bottled juices and juice drinks, and has been the best-selling brand name in the canned and bottled juice category since 1981. Ocean Spray posted fiscal 2007 revenues of roughly $1.7 billion.

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