Here’s why Ocean Spray cranberry sauce labels are upside down

(CNN) – Perhaps one of Thanksgiving’s biggest mysteries is cranberry sauce – and we’m not talking about why people eat it: Why are the labels on Ocean Spray cans upside down?

Attentive consumers have noticed that the labels on cans of jelly with cranberry sauce are inverted, meaning that the rounded edge that is typically on the bottom of most preserves is on top of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce cans.

According to Ocean Spray, it is deliberate: It creates a hassle-free serving experience.

The cans are “filled and marked on the head with the rounded edge at the top and the sharp can-like edge at the bottom to keep the jelly whole,” an Ocean Spray spokesman told CNN Business. It creates an air bubble on the rounded side (also called the top) so customers can “stroke the edge of the can with a knife to break the vacuum and the stem will easily slide out.”

This process has been in use since the early 2000s.

Adweek, which recently reported on this important reservation, noted that about 67 million cans are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But like other Thanksgiving meals, canned cranberry sauce can be hard to come by. The sauce has 79% availability across national retailers, down 89% over the same period, according to IRI, a market research firm that tracks U.S. retail sales.

Ocean Spray, a farmers’ cooperative that makes cranberry sauce and sells cranberries in sacks, said that “consumers can sometimes experience some availability issues on a variety of cranberry products,” due to supply chain problems. The co-op noted that it does not expect “significant impact” on the availability of its products.

– CNN Business’ Danielle Wiener-Bronner contributed to this report.

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