The annual ranking of Canada’s most-trusted brands by the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business held special honours for one company with strong connections to BC growers.
Ocean Spray took top honours in the beverage category and ranked 43 overall in this year’s study. This is up from 140th place last year. The survey examines more than 400 brands.
The survey awarded high marks to Ocean Spray on the basis of how well it delivers on core functions, social responsibility and the extent to which consumers are willing to advocate for it or become brand ambassadors.
While the ranking was based on Ocean Spray-branded beverage products, the brand is well-known for a host of other grocery items including the dried and sweetened berries known as Craisins. BC berries are key to Craisin production, and make their way into other products, too.
Mike Wallis, executive director of the BC Cranberry Growers Association, recalls attending events on Westham Island in the past, engaging consumers about local products.
“We would hand out Craisins,” he says. “Somebody said, ‘I don’t want that, that’s corporate America.’ I said, ‘Did you know that a certain percentage of cranberries in there are from BC?’”
Well, no they didn’t. Nor did they know about the other Ocean Spray products that make use of BC fruit.
“When you drink some cranberry juice, a percentage of it is going to be Canadian, so in fact you’re supporting local farmers. And they were blown away by that,” he says.
The latest ranking is good news, not just for the brand but for the local growers who supply it, he says.
“It’s nice to know one of the biggest players in your industry is recognized,” he says.
Within the dairy category, Agropur, a farmer-owned co-op based in Quebec ranked fourth and placed 57th overall. It outperformed other dairies with respect to social responsibility.