A Thanksgiving Staple: The Amazing Cranberry

By November 23, 2006Miscellaneous

As you celebrate Thanksgiving today, we wish you all the best and hope that you will think about not only the calories on the table, but also the farmers, food processors, manufacturers, shippers and retailers whose supply chains make all of this bounty possible.

Let’s focus today on the manufactuers in that supply chain. The food industry is the largest sector in manufacturing. Click here for a short description from our most recent publication, The Facts About Modern Manufacturing.

Cranberry products are part of this sector. While there is the traditional side dish of cranberries most of us see on Thanksgiving, the cranberry industry is highly innovative and finding all sorts of new products.

An AP story this week by reporter Linda Johnson looks at how cranberries are being processed into wine, confections, salsa and even soap. Sales of of cranberries are about $1.5 billion a year. Impress your friends and family with THAT factoid at dinner! Like all manufacturers, cranberry product manufacturers are not only diversifying their product lines, but they are also identifying new markets abroad. Japan and western Europe are growing markets for this native American product.

And for all Americans who are health-conscious, there’s an additional dimension about cranberries that you should know: apparently they are REALLY good for us. Researchers are finding that the berries are high in anti-oxidants and can be effective in treating gum ailments like periodontitis. It is even being used to treat other food-related illnesses. That points to another aspect of manufacturing: our R&D focus. Over 70 percent of all industrial R&D in this country comes out of the manufacturing sector. It should be no surprise that researchers are finding these new health applications, because that is what U.S. manufacturing excels at. To read the full Newsday story, click here.