Ocean Spray Cranberries will acquire Quebec-based Atoka Cranberries from The Bieler Group as it seeks to expand its manufacturing footprint in Canada.
Atoka’s approximately 130 employees will become part of the Ocean Spray manufacturing network, which includes five food plants located in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Washington, and Chile, as well as four beverage facilities in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Nevada.
In addition to acquiring the Atoka brand and processing facility, Ocean Spray intends to purchase The Bieler Group’s freezer and receiving facilities in the coming year.
The cooperative aims to make additional capital investments in these facilities to further increase efficiency and improve yield.
Ocean Spray CEO Randy Papadellis said: “This is a strong investment for Ocean Spray and our 700 farmer owners. Ocean Spray’s brand strength and global marketing reach, coupled with Atoka’s unique product portfolio and location, will benefit all of our farmers and expand the reach of the overall Quebec cranberry industry.
“This acquisition comes exactly 60 years after Quebec growers first joined the Ocean Spray Cooperative in 1958. Our farmer owners have a long and proud history in eastern Canada, and partnering with Bieler Cranberries, true pioneers of the Quebec cranberry industry, is a very exciting way to begin the next 60 years.”
The Bieler Group CEO Marc Bieler added: “The employees of Atoka and Ocean Spray share a similar culture of quality and customer focus, as well as a unique dedication to increasing demand for cranberries.
“Bringing together these two businesses is exciting and we look forward to joining Ocean Spray as a farmer owner.”
Last November, Ocean Spray announced it will spend $10 million over the next five years to study the antimicrobial benefit of cranberries.
Besides helping consumers meet their recommended daily intake of fruit, Ocean Spray said the berry may reduce the occurrence of certain infections in the urinary tract and stomach.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2018
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