UMass Dartmouth Study: The Nation's Pets Should Be Targeted By The Cranberry Industry

A University of the Massachusetts Dartmouth study released today concludes that the nation's 377 million cats, dogs and other pets represent a potentially explosive new market for the cranberry industry, in part due to the health benefits offered by the tiny red berry.

Health benefits of the official Massachusetts berry could attract owners of nation’s 377 million pets 

A University of the Massachusetts Dartmouth study released today concludes that the nation’s 377 million cats, dogs and other pets represent a potentially explosive new market for the cranberry industry, in part due to the health benefits offered by the tiny red berry. 

“As the nation’s love affair with its pets grows, the cranberry industry has a golden opportunity to stake out a strong position in the $14 billion pet food market, which is responding to consumer demands for higher quality, healthier options,’’ said Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, director of the Center For Business Research at UMass Dartmouth. “There are now more pets in the United States than people, and we are taking better care of our pets than ever. Therefore, the cranberry, known for its health benefits, is catching on fast as a key ingredient in pet food.’’ 

The study notes that the cranberry industry needs to find new markets for the fruit as annual harvests now outpace consumer demand. 

Dr. Barnes released the results of her study today at a day-long symposium on cranberry research held at UMass Dartmouth . The study, which included in-depth interviews with 42 pet food manufacturers and surveys of dozens of other companies, found the following: 

· Four in ten pet food manufacturers already use cranberries in their products, mostly in dog and cat food, but the largest ones do not; 

· Six out of 10 pet food manufacturers, who already use cranberries, expect to increase their use of cranberries. 

· Nine out 10 pet food manufacturers who use cranberries do so due to the health benefits, especially due to the role that cranberries can play in reducing urinary tract problems in cats and dogs. 

· Of the companies that do not use cranberries, 86 percent said they would do so if the health benefits could be clearly established. 

The study recommends that the cranberry industry begin a campaign to convince pet food manufacturers of the health benefits of the fruit, first by communicating the data concerning cranberry’s already established benefits to humans and then supporting research efforts to document the benefits to animals. 

Jeffrey LaFleur, Executive Director of the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association, said the study offers important guidance for the national cranberry industry whose production is currently outpacing consumer demand. 

“Cranberry farming continues to represent a critical component of the heritage and the economy of the Massachusetts landscape so it is imperative that we identify new markets for our products,’’ LaFleur said. “With its findings, the UMass Dartmouth Center For Business Research offers us an important roadmap for long-term economic viability.’’ 

Massachusetts cranberry growers now generate $63 million in annual sales, maintain over 60,000 acres of farmland, and employ over 5,000 people. The cranberry was designated the official berry of Massachusetts in 1994. 

The study was funded by the UMass Dartmouth Cranberry Research Initiative. 

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About the UMass Dartmouth Center for Business Research 

The Center for Business Research is located at the UMass Dartmouth Charlton College of Business. The Center facilitates the growth of the Commonwealth’s economy by providing research, training and consulting services to organizations; and enhances the education of UMass Dartmouth students by providing real-world business experience. 

About the UMass Dartmouth Charlton College of Business 

The nationally accredited Charlton College of Business is one of five colleges at UMass Dartmouth. It offers a wide range of graduate and undergraduate programs in accounting and finance, information systems, management, and marketing. 

About UMass Dartmouth 

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is one of five UMass campuses. Its 8,300 students are enrolled in five colleges – Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Business, Nursing, Visual and Performing Arts -- and the School of Marine Sciences and Technologies. Its 500 faculty members annually conduct over $17 million in research linked to the needs of the SouthCoast Region and Massachusetts. The campus has satellite education and research centers in the cities of New Bedford and Fall River. 


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