Why Cranberry Sauce Labels Are Applied Upside Down

Ocean Spray cranberry sauce labels are put on upside down on purpose in order to ensure the jelly inside stays in one piece after opening the can, enhancing the overall serving experience.

By Tiffany Velasquez | Published

cranberry sauce labels

You may or may not have noticed but Ocean Spray cranberry sauce labels are upside down. This is not a mistake by any means and has not always been done this way. The upside down cranberry sauce label is done intentionally to create a seamless serving experience at holiday dinners. 

The upside down cranberry sauce label makes it so that the rounded edge, which would typically be on the bottom, is actually on top of the can. The placement of the rounded edge on top ensures that the cranberry sauce jelly can stay whole when being removed from the can. The bubble that is created on top from the rounded edge allows for customers to easily slide a knife along the edge to break the vacuum seal and allow the canned jelly to flawlessly be plated in one whole log.

This process of canning the jelly and placing the cranberry sauce label upside down has been used since the early 2000s. Cranberry sauce from a can, which has a cult-like following, with the signature lines, perfect for slicing, coming out in a whole log is important for those who enjoy the sauce. This simple solution of placing the label upside down to ensure the air bottle was on the top to make sure cranberry sauce lovers would get the entire log out was genius.

Cranberry sauce was the first product launched by Ocean Spray, however the cranberry sauce label wasn’t originally placed upside down. Cranberries are a year round fruit but reach their peak in autumn, making them the perfect accompaniment to our holiday meals. The tiny fruit is harvested by millions of pounds each year and made into the loved canned cranberry sauce. 

The first can of cranberry sauce was made in 1912 and the cranberry sauce can label was not really a concern at the time. The original can of cranberry sauce was created to be sure that the fruit would be able to be enjoyed all year long. Over time, customers knew they wanted to perfect log to be plated and served.

As the cranberry is a stable fruit during the holiday season, the signature lump of sauce, straight from a can to plate is a signature dish. Every year there are memes surrounding the jelly log that comes from a can with upside down cranberry sauce label. The fun memes surrounding the sauce jokingly say that folks do not want a fancy family recipe of chutney, cinnamon, orange infused cranberry sauce. 

People, without a doubt, want their jelly log, directly from the can that has an upside down cranberry sauce label that ensures it comes out whole, plated and served as is. There is no denying this fact that people desire and often prefer the simplicity of the cranberry sauce from the can. I guess when something is good, there is no need to change it or alter it in any way. 

When you are shopping for cranberry sauce to dump and serve this holiday season, just know that the upside down cranberry sauce label is intentional and has been done for your benefit. With enough to stress about and other things to cook from scratch, rest assured that most people love the signature canned cranberry sauce.