Wisconsin hosts international visitors for cranberry reverse trade mission
WISCONSIN RAPIDS - Last week, more than 20 food product buyers, media and influencers from China and India converged on Wisconsin’s cranberry country as part of an international Reverse Trade Mission hosted by the U.S. Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC), in partnership with the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association (WSCGA).
The effort is one example of how the industry is working together to increase demand for cranberry products worldwide.
While in Wisconsin, attendees visited fifth-generation Cutler Cranberry in Camp Douglas, Wis. to experience harvest up-close, as well as the Ocean Spray receiving and manufacturing facility in Tomah, Wis.
They also met with Rutgers University scientist Dr. Amy Howell to discuss cranberry health benefits, learned about different ways to incorporate cranberries into meals and snacks, and networked with state export representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), international marketing brokers, industry representatives and more.
“It is my pleasure to welcome our guests from India and China to Wisconsin this week,” said DATCP Interim Secretary Jeff Lyon. “Cranberries are an integral part of Wisconsin’s agricultural history, heritage and economy, and efforts like this will help ensure that the industry continues to thrive for years to come.”
According to WSCGA Executive Director Tom Lochner, several factors have caused the industry’s recent market imbalance, including good growing conditions, new cranberry acreage, technological advances and slow growth in demand of certain products, like cranberry juice. To mitigate this issue, the cranberry industry has been focused on increasing marketing efforts, especially overseas, to grow demand.
“The U.S. Cranberry Marketing Committee has been marketing cranberries in other countries since 1999,” said Michelle Hogan, CMC executive director. “China and India are two key markets with strong growth potential, and this Reverse Trade Mission will help our berries reach new consumers.”
Other international target markets include Mexico, South Korea and the European Union.
“We’ve seen international outreach efforts pay off. In the past decade, cranberry exports from Wisconsin have more than doubled,” said Lochner. “While that is encouraging, we know there is still work to be done, which is why it is important for the industry to continue working together on efforts like this.”
Wisconsin’s cranberry harvest, which has been underway since late September, will wrap up by early November. The United States is projected to harvest approximately 9 million barrels (900 million pounds) of cranberries this season, with Wisconsin accounting for 5.6 million barrels of the crop.
WSCGA was founded in 1887 and is committed to developing and implementing programs that will assist growers in doing a better job of growing cranberries and strengthening the public support for the industry in Wisconsin.
For more information, visit www.wiscran.org, Like WSCGA on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.