Why Are Cranberry Sauce Cans Upside Down?

Ocean Spray reveals the answer to a persistent Thanksgiving mystery.

Inquiring minds all across TikTok have asked: Why is the label on the can of cranberry sauce always upside down?

Ocean Spray, purveyor of canned cranberry sauce that comes out in the shape of a can and then jiggles its way onto our plates every Thanksgiving, has taken note of this common inquiry and, blessedly, has put our curiosity to rest. The company first posted this video to TikTok back in 2021 explaining the phenomenon, and has been diligently spreading the word again this year.


#stitch @t a y l o r j a n e we're no @Hank Green but we do know a little bit about cranberries

♬ original sound – Ocean Spray Inc.

You can watch for yourself above, but, in short, the can is produced "upside down" because the part that looks like the bottom (which, in this case, is the top) contains an air bubble. This allows you to easily break the seal between the cranberry sauce and the can, thus releasing the contents—intact and perfectly can-shaped—onto your plate.

The jellied cylinder that this air bubble helps us achieve is signature to the canned cranberry sauce experience, and according to a press release from Ocean Spray, canned is the way to go for a lot of Americans, especially in the South.

"The South is firmly on the side of canned cranberry sauce, with 68% of consumers in the South preferring canned over homemade," the press release notes. "Other regions are more evenly split – with 57% of the Midwest, 55% of the Northeast, and 54% of the West preferring canned."

Meanwhile, according to the report commissioned by Ocean Spray, 83% of Americans believe Thanksgiving isn't Thanksgiving unless there's cranberry sauce (either canned or homemade) on the table, and 28% consider it a red flag if someone they're dating doesn't prefer the same type of cranberry sauce they do. Just ask Ocean Spray's brand partner, "Granfluencer" Grandma Droniak, who was tapped to make a whole sponsored video dumping on the homemade stuff:


im #teamcanned because it slays and i love @Ocean Spray Inc. #sponsored

♬ original sound – grandma_droniak

Whatever you do this holiday season, make sure you're picking the right kind of cranberry sauce, lest you end up a target of Grandma Droniak's ire. And if you do opt for canned (because you're smart and pick the right things—there, I said it), don't worry if it looks like that label is upside down. It's all part of the plan in this mad, beautiful world we live in.