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US: Varietals, organics continue to spice up potato business

A potato isn’t just a potato, particularly now, with new varieties and organics coming on, marketers say.

“Everyone is looking for category growth, and that is coming from specialty and organic offerings,” said Scott Leimkuhler, vice president with Los Angeles-based Progressive Produce LLC in Walla Walla, Wash.

Large size packs on russets (10s and 15s) are decreasing in popularity, as consumers are shopping more frequently and constantly looking for “what is fresh,” he said.

Some also want something that is new and unique, and that’s where specialty varieties play a key role, Leimkuhler said.

“Specialty varieties are generally impulse buys, but many have a distinct almost cult-like following to them, so if retailers carry them regularly and the shoppers can rely on them being there, they work and help grow the category,” he said. 

“Some people just have to have their purple or fingerling potatoes and won’t take any substitute.” Because shoppers crave the new and unique, so do retailers, said Ross Johnson, international marketing director with the Eagle-based Idaho Potato Commission.

Read the full article in The Packer here