Wisconsin Cranberry Growers: Again lead nation in production industry sees increase in domestic sales

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. – Wisconsin’s role as the nation’s cranberry producing powerhouse will continue in 2020. According to projections released this week by the U.S. Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC), Wisconsin growers will harvest an estimated 5.56 million barrels of fruit this fall. The forecast marks the 26th consecutive year that Wisconsin has led the nation in cranberry production and comes on the heels of domestic demand surges in recent months.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. cranberry industry has seen demand increases in 2020, particularly for in-home purchases, with domestic sales up about 8% from this time last year. That increase in demand paired with supply control and marketing efforts implemented by the industry in recent years has brought inventories more in line with demand.

“As U.S. consumers are searching for products that are both shelf-stable and healthy amid the current pandemic, we’re seeing that many people are rediscovering a love for cranberry products,” said Tom Lochner, executive director of the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association (WSCGA). “The industry is working together to capitalize on that renewed interest by exploring new products and educating consumers about the many ways cranberries can be incorporated into meals.”

The harvest projection is part of the approximately 8.75 million barrels of cranberries expected nationwide, up 15 percent from 2019. Last year, Wisconsin growers had a crop of 4.67 million barrels. This year’s projections are dependent on good growing conditions for the remainder of the season. Lochner says this year’s growing season has been favorable so far.

The CMC also made crop projections for other top cranberry producing states. Those projections are: Massachusetts at approximately 2.04 million barrels, New Jersey at 500,000 barrels, Washington at 153,000 and Oregon at 495,000 barrels.

Lochner also said the industry is preparing for harvest during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, “food safety and the health of everyone involved in harvest is the industry’s top priority right now.”

More than half the entire world’s supply of cranberries are grown on Wisconsin family farms, generating $1 billion in state economic impact and providing thousands of local jobs. Cranberries are grown on 21,000 acres across 20 counties in central and northern Wisconsin. Approximately five percent of this year’s crop will be sold as fresh fruit, and the remaining cranberries will be frozen and stored for longer-term sales as frozen berries, dried cranberries, juices, sauces and more.