The Cherry Marketing Institute (CMI) received a federal grant of $125,000. 99 percent of the tart cherry industry is processed: dried, canned, juice or frozen. With those funds, the Dewitt-based organization is going to target snack food and beverage manufacturers to include those cherries in their products.
“They can be remanufactured into products that manufacturers could use in an array of different products,” said Julie Gordon, president of the CMI. “We’re going to try to inspire new products and inclusions of tart cherries as an ingredient—like using tart cherries in cereal mixes, trail mixes, protein bars, yogurts, ice creams, and beverages.”
Gordon adds that beverages have been trending, and they want to incorporate more Montmorency cherries into those products.
“We’re going to try to tap into that market to try to get tart cherries used in more mixed beverages and protein drinks and beverages that are trending in the marketplace,” she said.
Not only will the Cherry Marketing Institute will be going after Michigan-based Kellogg’s, but other big-name brands such as Nestle, General Mills, Kraft and ConAgra.
“This campaign not only reintroduces tart cherries from a different perspective for use and ingredients, but also educates manufacturers about the versatility of incorporating tart cherries into products,” said Gordon.
The grant will be executed in December.