The traditional yuletide condiment has been used in scores of new products - from fruit juice, to snack bars and cereals. Some of its appeal has been down to the increasing body of science supporting the positive effects of cranberries, in roles such as combating urinary tract infections. This rise in popularity fuelled rumours in other media reports of a cranberry shortage next year. Cranberry and cranberry ingredient suppliers have remained positive supply can meet demand for 2008. Big players Lallemand Health Ingredients (LHI) and Ocean Spray have said they are confident there would be no problems with supply next year and growth would still continue. LHI's ingredients include NutriCran90S - a spray-dried cranberry concentrate standardized to contain a minimum of one per cent proanthocyanidins, a recently launched water extracted cranberry powder with minimum four per cent proanthocyanidins and a cranberry powder called PACran supported by a clinical study. Since this was launched in early 2007, it has attracted widespread attention from leading brands. As of November, partners have launched the Hi-PAC 4.0 products in six European countries. Ocean Spray has been making headway in Asia and reported huge growth in sales of cranberry ingredients to the Asia-Pacific market in the past 12 months, citing the strong growth on health-conscious consumers turning to the red berry for its benefits. Another major player is Denmark's Chr Hansen. In October it will launch a new range of cranberry ingredients available for both the dietary supplement and functional food industries. Its product - NutriPhy Cranberry - uses both the European (vaccinium oxycoccus) and North American (vaccinium macrocarpon) cranberry, aimed chiefly at preventing bacteria in the urinary tract. Leading the way According to statistics from Mintel's Global New Database, the US is leading the way with launches. Out of the 900 total for 10 countries including the US, Canada, France, Sweden and Japan, launches in America rose from 16 in 2006 to 270 this year - a whopping increase of more than 1,500 per cent. This was closely followed by Canada which rose from 12 to 145 launches this year. Europe and the rest of the world saw a rise from 9 in 2006 to 176 this year. Leading the way in the bloc was the UK with 68, followed by France 29, Sweden 29 and Japan 26. In 2006 there were no launches in Sweden, Japan and Austria or the Netherlands. Now between the four countries there were more than 100. Snack and energy bar section saw the most launches - accounting for 10 per cent of the cranberry market. This section rose from one launch last year to 219 this year. The next most launched in category is juices containing the berry. This rose from one 2006 launch to 211 this year. Followed respectively by sweet biscuits, cold cereals, fruit snacks, sweet spreads, cakes, and chocolates. Flavoured still drinks rose from no launches last year to 82 this year. A selection from the database shows cranberry is also used as an additional ingredient for products which claim to be all natural. Some of these launches include Tai-Hua Oil Industrial with a cranberry assorted juice drink launched in Taiwan this month. In US the berry can be found for flavouring as well in products such as Shonfeld's Mini Margaritas and Martinis.
Cranberry is no longer just for Christmas as growth in consumer demand has helped the little red berry find its way into some 900 brand new products this year - a staggering rise from the 2006 position of 54 launches, according to Mintel.