Fresno, Calif. – They may be two shrivelled up fruits, but there’s an epic battle brewing between the raisin and the Craisin.
Raisins, some say, have been around since the time of Noah and his ark. But Craisins were just launched in 1989 by Ocean Spray.
In that short time, they’ve made a splash and have shown up everywhere – with recipes from salads to baked goods – taking a strong foothold in what was once a market dominated by the raisin.
In 2010, raisin producers in Central California saw sales numbers for the Craisin increase, while their own sales figures for raisins dipped, reports the LATimes.com.
So raisin producers decided they’re not going to take it anymore and they’re retaliating.
They announced in early March that they would be spending US$1.5 million to promote what they say is a healthier snack.
And they’ve also launched a website, www.LetsKeepItReal.com, which is designed to offer consumers educational information to help make healthy food choices.
But the site is also about clarifying the differences between the raisin and the Craisin.
For instance, says the California Raisin Marketing Board, the raisin is an all-natural, dried-in-the-sun, no-sugar-added fruit with fibre, potassium and antioxidants. And because California Raisins are wholesome, healthy and come by their sweetness naturally, they are eligible to carry the U.S.-based Produce for Better Health Foundation’s Fruit & Veggies — More Matters logo.
The board goes onto say that while raisins and Craisins may sound the same, that is where the similarities stop.
Some of the cranberries’ nutrients, such as potassium and vitamin C, are virtually lost during the manufacturing process required to make Craisins.
And in a U.S. nutrition rating system, raisins ranked 87 on the system’s 100-point scale. Meanwhile, Craisins ranked a four, which is a lower score than some brands of potato chips and chocolate chip cookies.
Larry Blagg, senior vice-president of marketing with the board, told the LATimes.com that the Craisin movement has gone too far. “They’re not even real food,” he says. “They’re a dried cranberry skin that’s at least 40 per cent added sugar. We had to do something.”