Northland Cranberries, Inc. has announced it intends to sell or close its Bridgeton plant and in a bid to boost its competitive edge against Ocean Spray, the company has named Robert Hawk as president and COO.

"We are taking some necessary steps to re-organise our operations and reduce our ongoing expenses to allow us to more effectively compete against Ocean Spray and others," said CEO John Swendrowski.

"After the sale of our private label business and the lack of anticipated co-packing volume from the acquirer of the business, we have simply far to much under-utilized bottling capacity."

"In order to reduce this over-capacity and excess overhead, we must sell or close at least one of our bottling plants, and we chose the Bridgeton plant based on an analysis of the long term capital investment needs of the facility compared to other bottling plants," he added.

Hawk will direct the company to re-organise its sales and marketing infrastructure, and as part of his direct responsibilities, he will lead the branded division sales and marketing effort.

Hawk is hoping to save US$1m a year in sales, general and administrative expenses if the company can negotiate an outsourcing agreement with Crossmark Inc. of Dallas to represent the Northland and Seneca brands in over 90% of the country.

If an agreement is reached, Northland intends to utilize Crossmark's 10,000 or more employees on a national basis and to access their state of the art management systems to promote its Northland and Seneca brands.