The effects of cranberry phenols and their possible synergistic reactions with the functional biphenyls ellagic acid (EA) and rosmarinic acid (RA) in modulating cellular antioxidant response were examined using H2O2-treated minced pork steak as an animal model for oxidatively-stressed muscle tissue. Changes in the cellular antioxidant enzyme response pathway were used as markers of the redox status of tissues, and changes in the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) and a possible link to proline biosynthesis were also assessed. Treatments with cranberry juice powder (CP), EA and RA and their combinations reduced or helped counter oxidative stress as indicated by reductions in the formation of malondialdehyde, whilst levels of cellular antioxidant enzyme systems involving superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and peroxidase were stimulated. CP, EA, RA and their combinations also stimulated PPP activity and accumulation of free proline, suggesting a possible coupling of proline biosynthesis with PPP. It is further suggested that this coupled proline-PPP response may be involved in the stimulation of cellular antioxidant enzyme response by replenishing cellular NADPH2. It is concluded that these exogenously-applied phenols can reduce the oxidative stress in minced pork steak tissues, and that the pure exogenous phenols, EA and RA, appeared to be effective when they were present in a cranberry phenol background, suggesting a possible synergistic mode of action between EA, RA and cranberry phenols in mediating a cellular antioxidant enzyme response.