Mariani acquires Wisconsin cranberry processor

by Eric Schroeder
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VACAVILLE, CALIF. — Mariani Packing Co., a dried fruit packer, has acquired Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.-based Urban Processing, L.L.C. With the acquisition, Mariani said it is the only company delivering dried raisins, prunes and cranberries.

“There could be no better time to make this investment,” said George Sousa Jr., president of Mariani. “There has been tremendous growth of dried cranberries in the last 10 years, in fact they are now the second segment to raisins in total category sales. With 60% of cranberries coming from Wisconsin, Mariani’s decision to purchase the processing facility in Wisconsin positions us to truly be leaders in the marketplace.”

While Mariani has packed cranberries in the past, the acquisition of Urban Processing’s facility in Wisconsin gives the company easier access to the largest cranberry producing state in the United States, accounting for more than 400 million of a near 700 million lb annual cranberry crop.

“As a family we’ve had the opportunity to know the Urbans for several years,” said Mark Mariani, chief executive officer of Mariani. “They have enormous integrity as a family, in the way they’ve run Urban Processing, and in their business relationships. They’ve brought the strictest standards to their facility and we are fortunate to carry on their legacy.

“The family’s decision to make this investment in cranberries is exciting in many ways. But most importantly being the only company to complete the full cycle from purchasing to processing to packaging, with the three top commodities — raisins, prunes, and cranberries — we have a real competitive advantage that will allow us to better serve our brand, private label, ingredient and international customers, with quality products our customers can trust.”

In addition to raisins, cranberries and prunes, Mariani packages other fruits and berries, sun-dried tomatoes, yogurt-coated raisins, and HoneyBars.
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