US: Unique potato marketing effort enjoying success

Image result for Fresh Solutions NetworkThe concept of produce growers banding together for marketing purposes but keeping their own identity is relatively unique, but it is working quite well for eight potato grower-shippers spread out across the United States and Canada. Fresh Network Solutions, LLC and its Side Delights® brand of fresh potatoes are moving into its second decade of existence with a full slate of eight partners and more than a couple of dozen SKUs including many unique value-added options ranging from potato kits to fresh-cuts to organics. “We’ve hit our stride with our membership,” said Kathleen Triou, Chief Executive Officer and President of the San Francisco-based marketing organization.  “Any more partners and we would be redundant in some areas; any less and we wouldn’t have national coverage.” Triou said the group represents a significant percentage of fresh U.S. potato supply in aggregate, which gives it sufficient volume to negotiate with the largest retailers in the county on year-round programs. Triou believes that Fresh Solutions Network has its collective finger on the pulse of the North American shopper. “We see continued opportunities in the convenience sector of the category,” she said. More

Irish-made Keogh’s Crisps secure major contract with the largest international airline in the world

Derek, Tom and Ross Keogh at the launch of Keogh's crisps on Keogh's Farm, Oldtown. BELOW: Brothers,Keogh’s Crisps of North Dublin has secured a major contract with Emirates, the largest international airline in the world, which will see an estimated one million bags being served onboard annually. The premium Irish brand will be available to First Class passengers only and was selected by the Emirates  Group following a blind tasting of 15 different brands, of which Keogh’s came out top. The Irish-made crisps will be served onboard Emirates flights as part of the airline’s First Class Hot Sandwiches and Snacks service and as an accompaniment to drinks. The announcement was made today at Marketplace International, Bord Bia’s annual food buyer event in Dublin, where the two brands were first introduced in 2016. More

‘What are you eating?’ Potatoes, of course!

Related imagePotatoes USA announced a new consumer marketing campaign at their Annual Meeting in Denver last week. The “What Are You Eating?” campaign is designed to encourage athletes to use potatoes as fuel for athletic performance. The campaign is designed to re-frame potato nutrition messaging from providing reasons why it is okay to eat potatoes to providing the reasons why you should eat potatoes for optimal athletic performance. Through a process of reviewing and analyzing potato characteristics and their implications, Athletic Performance was identified as the single-minded, lifestyle-oriented potato benefit that could best serve to strengthen the industry’s position in the marketplace. Talking to athletes represents a huge opportunity for the potato industry, 16% of the population or 30 million people exercise at least 2 times per week and participate in competitive events.  Continue reading

US retail shows surprising russet gains; ‘mini’ potatoes keep climbing in sales

Reversing recent market share erosion, potato category leader fresh russet potatoes showed modest volume gains in July through December. “We are seeing growth in categories we haven’t seen growth in for a while, which has been nice,” said Ross Johnson, global marketing manager for Potatoes USA, Denver. “We haven’t seen (russets) grow for a long time.” In visits across the U.S., Johnson said Potatoes USA has been working with retailers to help them take advantage of how the potato category can drive produce department profits. “I think there is an understanding (retailers) need to focus more on the potato category to help it grow even stronger.” Johnson said spuds help drive sales of other foods that can be paired with potatoes. From the middle of 2014 to the middle of 2017, the “mini” category has almost doubled, reaching nearly 16% of potato category sales, Ralph Schwartz, vice present of sales for Potandon Produce said  “No one is sure what the overall percent of the category it is going to capture but it keeps climbing,” he said. More

Ahead of looming crisis, the Potato Mission ends in India’s Odisha state

Image result for Ahead of impending crisis, Potato Mission ends in OdishaWith yet another potato crisis looming over the state, the much-hyped potato mission that was launched to achieve self-sufficiency in potato production and enhance storage capacity for potatoes is all set to come to an abrupt end in March 2018. The three-year old mission by the government failed badly in meeting the targets of production as well as storage. Ironically in the last three years potato production has gone down. The area of total potato cultivation in the state also came down from 25,000 hectares in 2015 to 22,000 hectares in 2017. “The three year period of the Potato Mission is going to be over in March, but we are working on what can be done to increase the area of cultivation as it was targeted in the mission. Ultimately it was the choice of the farmers to opt for potato cultivation, which did not happen leading to reduction of areas,” said agriculture secretary Sourabh Garg. More

Idaho Potato Commission launches new video series: Idaho Potato Life Hacks

The Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) has partnered with Ivan Nanney, former member of the Big Idaho® Potato Truck’s Tater Team and’s newest Cancun Experience Officer, to create a series of Idaho® Potato Life Hack videos showcasing the many uses of Idaho® potatoes beyond a recipe ingredient. These DIY (Do It Yourself) tater tricks use Idaho® potatoes to increase efficiency, safety, and creativity in everyday life. “Although Idaho® potatoes are one of America’s favorite vegetables, a lot of people aren’t aware of just how multifunctional spuds can be,” says Frank Muir, President & CEO, IPC. “So whenever you’re in a pinch, there’s a good chance an Idaho® potato can help. We like to call them ‘delicious and functional’.” Here are six Idaho® Potato Life Hacks that can make your life a little easier,  a few more ways Idaho® potatoes can help… More. And watch all the Idaho® Potato Life Hacks videos

Potatoes USA elects new Chairman; unveils new promotion strategy

Image result for potatoes usaDan Moss from Declo, Idaho was sworn in as the new Chairman of Potatoes USA at the group’s annual meeting last week in Denver.  Moss is the CEO of Moss Ag and Arrowhead Potato Company, a company that focuses on the fresh potato secror.  He will replace a familiar face to those of us in the NPPGA area, John Halverson.  The Grand Forks native heads Black Gold’s operation in Arbyrd, Missouri. Potatoes USA President Blair Richardson followed up on a strategy announced last year that proclaimed it is time for potatoes to go on the “offensive”. A marketing plan under development will promote potatoes as a performance food for athletes and active people.  The tag line “Potatoes – Real Food – Real Performance” was unveiled. A promotional video promoting the concept was very well received by the board and others in attendance. Look for more news from the annual meeting in next week’s Potato Bytes, including administrative and executive committee assignments. (Source: Potato Bytes weekly newsletter, edited by Ted Kreis – NPPGA Communications)

New World Bank book on Peruvian agriculture highlights native potato value chains

A book on Peruvian agriculture recently published by the World Bank highlights the dynamism of the sector and its impressive growth in the past decade. However, closer analysis shows how the vast majority of smallholders in the Andean highlands and Amazon have seen little progress. Yet there is some good news for Andean farmers, since a growing number have been able to access better-paying markets for native potato varieties thanks to years of work by the International Potato Center (CIP) and partners. The highlands, where potato is the principal crop of more than 80% of farmers, have higher levels of poverty and malnutrition than the national average. CIP coordinated the Papa Andina Program that brought together public institutions, businesses and NGOs in Peru in a project called INCOPA, in order to tap the potential of the country’s approximately 3,000 potato varieties for reducing rural poverty. Sales of native potatoes increased by more than 70% and prices for them increased 150%. The total value of native potato exports rose from US$821,000 in 2010 to US$2.5 million in 2015, mostly from packaged snacks. More

Lay’s Potato Chip bags use smile power to help kids in need

PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division is putting smiles on bags of Lay’s Potato Chips as part of its limited-time “Smile with Lay’s” campaign. For each purchase of one of the specially designed bags—which are printed with the smiles of real consumers—the brand is making a donation to Operation Smile, an international charity that helps young people who need surgery to correct cleft conditions. The packaging design, which incorporates a diverse assortment of smiling faces, rolled out across the United States in February. Fourteen of Lay’s potato chip flavors are available in the grin-inducing food packaging. In addition to buying Lay’s Smile bags in-store, consumers can go online to order a bag of Lay’s Classic Potato Chips printed with their own smile. Sarah Guzman, senior director of marketing, Lay’s, answers some questions about the packaging and the campaign. More

Potatoes on the right track as performance food

Image result for potatoes performance foodA year ago, Potatoes USA members started a new campaign to market potatoes as a performance food. A year later, they confirmed that’s the right track. “We did research on what works and what doesn’t work,” said Blair Richardson, CEO of Potatoes USA, March 14 at the group’s annual meeting in Denver. “Potatoes as a performance vegetable is something we can achieve. We’re asking people what they’re eating when they perform, and if they’re eating potatoes, that’s what we’re trying to create.” The consumer marketing campaign encourages active people to be their best and beat their best, and potatoes are the fuel for that. “We can all customize this program,” Richardson said. “If we all get behind it, we can change the perception of potatoes.” Director of marketing programs Kim Breshears said the industry needs to move potatoes from “You can eat potatoes” to “You should eat potatoes.” More

‘Potatoes are on an upward trajectory,’ says Potatoes USA

potusa 1 webThere are consumers who love potatoes, and Potatoes USA’s fiscal year 2019 will target them. That’s not to say potatoes aren’t popular among all consumers. Board leaders showed how potatoes are consumers’ favorite vegetable, and that’s reflected in the board’s mission statement: Strengthen demand of USA Potatoes. At the USA Potatoes annual meeting March 12-15 in Denver, the board started with a review of its domestic marketing plans. It approved FY19 domestic marketing investments of $4.86 million for the July to June fiscal year. The primary domestic strategies for the board are to inspire potato innovation across all channels, promote potatoes as performance food, cultivate strategic partnerships and advocate for scientific research to show potatoes’ role in enhancing physical and mental performance. John Toaspern, chief marketing officer, said potatoes are on an upward trajectory, which is a nice trend after some flat recent years. More

Lay’s-PepsiCo sees ‘huge opportunities’ for premium potato chips in Argentina

Pablo García - General Manager PepsiCo Alimentos ArgentinaWhile Argentina’s salted-snack consumption is low at one kilo per person compared with the nine kilos in the US in 2017, the market has plenty of potential, says Pablo García, general manager for foods at PepsiCo Argentina. Latin America’s southern cone, comprising Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, has large development when it comes to potato chips and the segment represents half of Argentina’s salted-snack market. “Our research shows there is a large group of people looking to try new products from wine to ice-cream and salted snacks,” says García. Taking advantage of this interest, the company launched four flavors in Argentina in 2017 under its Lay’s branding. But, he says, trends in Argentina go beyond flavors. “We’re seeing see huge opportunities in developing the premium segment, because consumers now value texture. In response to that, we launched the first kettle chip in Argentina under Lay’s gourmet line, which has a harder texture compared with other chips”. Report by

Potato marketing trends in the US for 2018

In this article, The Packer magazine provides a bird’s eye view on marketing trends as reported by several of the big players in fresh potato marketing and promotion in the US. Demand for yellow potatoes has been up the first part of 2018 compared with a year ago, said Doug Posthuma, buying manager and national salesman for Friesland, Wis.-based Alsum Farms. Paul Dolan, general manager of Associated Potato Growers, Grand Forks, N.D., said the company has had good success with 5-pound and 3-pound bags of red potatoes this year compared with last year. Loosening transportation conditions have set the table for aggressive retail promotions, said Keith Goven, fresh sales manager for Grand Forks, N.D.-based Black Gold Farms. Houston-based MountainKing Potatoes is bringing back its spring retail promotion for Crawfish B-Red potatoes, the variety specially grown and packaged for crawfish boils. Potandon Produce has seen very strong demand on variety potatoes the first six weeks of the year, said Ralph Schwartz, vice president of sales for Potandon Produce, Idaho Falls, Idaho. More

Potato industry in New Zealand valued at close to a billion dollars, CEO says

Potatoes New ZealandIn the latest Strategic Update report issued by Potatoes New Zealand, CEO Chris Claridge writes that the 2017 calendar year values and volumes are now available and the news is very positive. “Our total industry value to Dec 2017 including domestic retail sales, food service such as restaurants takeaway chips and exports, is closing on a Billion dollars per annum,” Claridge says. He notes that Potatoes New Zealand has two important key strategic goals which they are endeavouring to achieve by 2025, namely to double the value of fresh and processed New Zealand based exports by 2025, and to enhance the value of the domestic market by 50% by 2025. “In summary, when tracking performance at December 2017 we are well on track to achieve these goals,” Claridge says. Based on the levy received, the 2013 farm gate value was estimated at $103 million. The 2017 estimated farm gate value is now at a $170 million, showing an increase of 65%. “Evidence that increased market value is being returned at the farm gate,” says Claridge. Full report

UK: Tyrrells airs new ‘absurdly good’ ad

Image result for TyrrellsTyrrells has launched a new advertising campaign to showcase its ‘Best Ever Recipes’. The ‘Absurdly Good’ ad goes live today (5 March) and will be aired on TV and VoD until May 2018, with £2m of investment behind it.  It is centred around Tyrrells’ most popular flavours – Lightly Salted, Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar, and Mature Cheddar & Chive. Adam Draper, Marketing Director at Tyrrells Potato Crisps, said: “We are thrilled to launch this new creative campaign to celebrate our Best Ever Recipe. The ad shows the passion that we have for hunting out the finest quality ingredients for our unique, delicious tasting crisps. We’re always working to improve our recipes, and this advert is to celebrate and ultimately communicate that we now have our best ever recipes. Of course, the creative style maintains our unique personality, tone and humour.” More