CANADA – Ocean Spray, an agricultural cooperative of growers of cranberries and grapefruit has revealed plans to acquire Atoka Cranberries in Quebec seeking to increase its manufacturing activities in the region.

According to the company, it will acquire Atoka Brand and processing facility as well as Bieler Group’s freezer and receiving facilities in the coming year.

Atoka Cranberries is a food manufacturer which retails cranberry juices, juice concentrates, dried and fresh cranberries, cranberry powders, fibres and seeds.

The transaction which was expected to close in the coming weeks will see the transfer of Atoka Cranberries ownership from Bieler Group.

Bieler Cranberries is the group’s subsidiary, Canada’s leading producer of cranberries and supplies Atoka with high quality cranberries which are transformed into Juice, Sweet and Dried Cranberries, Powder and Sauces.

According to the terms of the acquisition, Ocean Spray will incorporate Atoka’s employee to join a team of their manufacturing workforce.

Atoka’s former employees will be given an opportunity to work at the company’s food plants and beverage facilities in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Washington, Chile, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Texas and Nevada.

With capital investments in these facilities, the company said that it will be able to improve yield as well as increase efficiency.

In August 2016, Spray Oceans sold Lakeville headquarters to raise US$40 million to invest in other areas of the business.

Among the investments include a US$10 million investment to research the cranberry’s antimicrobial benefit in helping to combat antimicrobial resistance.

Emergence of new juice blends and pure cranberry beverages shows that Spray Oceans was committed to help customers meet their daily recommended fruit intake and contribute to their wellbeing.

“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,” said Randy Papadellis, Ocean Spray CEO.

“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.”

He added that both Atoka’s and Ocean Spray’s employees were committed to exploiting their know-how to increase demand for cranberries in addition to their common culture to enhance quality and customer focus.

The deal joins Atoka to nearly 20 cranberry receiving and processing facilities and a cranberry production chain comprising of 700 cranberry growers in the United States.