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Maple syrup co-op taps into cranberry processing

A Quebec maple syrup producer group is diversifying into the cranberry market by buying a Quebec City-based fruit processor.

Plessisville-based Citadelle Maple Syrup Producers’ Co-operative announced Friday it will buy La Maison Bergevin Inc. for an undisclosed sum.

Bergevin, operating since 1999, processes cranberries, blueberries and blackcurrants for juices, concentrates, powders, frozen and dried whole fruits and other products for the foodservice, food processing and retail sectors, including nationally-known and private-label brands.

Bergevin’s production assets include a 15,000-square foot plant and 10,000-square foot cold storage warehouse with processing capacity for over 10 million pounds of fruit per year.

The bulk of Bergevin’s business today is in cranberries, of which it processes about eight million pounds per year, 95 per cent of which are exported into “niche markets” internationally, the maple syrup group said.

Cranberries, Citadelle said, are well known worldwide for health benefits derived mainly from its levels of proanthocyanidin, a “powerful antioxidant that sets them apart from other berries.”

Worldwide demand for cranberries is also growing, Citadelle added, citing the fruit’s increasing popularity among health-conscious consumers.

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