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Cran Chile

Thriving on a history of innovation

Cran Chile harvester


Valdivia, Chile

Under cultivation:

700 hectares of cranberries

Annual production:

~530,000 barrels
(~25,000 tonnes)

Cranberries are native to North America, and the U.S. and Canada dominate global production. But the world’s single largest cranberry grower is almost 10,000 kilometers south of key North American production regions in the Patagonia Lake District of south-central Chile. The story of how Cran Chile became a cranberry-growing giant is one of innovation, starting with outside-the-box thinking to help meet a global cranberry shortage.

Cran Chile cranberries

Harvesting from proprietary bridges

Three decades ago, Cran Chile’s founders believed the cranberry, a fruit rich in nutrients and antioxidants, could grow in Chile with adaptation to local conditions. While cranberries are traditionally grown in relatively small, irregular shaped bogs, Cran Chile pioneered their production in large rectangular fields. It also engineered the local soil and ground conditions to mimic the sandy deposits in which the low-lying vines naturally thrive.

Cran Chile also designed and built machinery-equipped mobile bridges that span its fields, enabling it to prune, fertilize, and harvest its cranberry crop while minimizing physical labour and direct stepping on the vines. 

Learning from data and prioritizing research

Under Ontario Teachers’ ownership since 2021, Cran Chile and its team of agronomists continue to prioritize new ideas, including diversification into raspberries. In recent years the company has deployed technology, including sensors, to measure environmental variables and soil and vine conditions. Learning from more data—including by using artificial intelligence—will enable it to cut water usage and energy costs, thereby improving its sustainability.

About a decade ago, Cran Chile joined Ocean Spray, a cooperative collectively owned by about 700 cranberry growers in several countries. The partnership positioned Cran Chile as the Ocean Spray’s largest single grower-owner. It also gives Cran Chile access to innovations across the cooperative, including university-led research.

A few years ago, we formalized the R&D function in order to give more follow-up to our innovation efforts. There are always 20 to 30 projects on the go. Some of them are small ones, but some of them are really meaningful to the future of the company.

Fernando Casari
CEO of Cran Chile