“I see the value-added category growing based upon the consumer’s interest and desire for convenience. This type of line will be essential in potato programs going forward as consumer demand increases,” Hughes said.
“Microwave Express business doubled last year and is trending a further 30% ahead this year so far. We are writing recipes using some of our convenience items as the basis, which, in turn, demonstrates to the consumer a wider breadth of meal ideas and quicker way to enjoy fresh potatoes,” Keckler said.
Some serving suggestions come through online channels instead of in-store or in-ad recipes.
Don Odiorne, vice president of foodservice for the Idaho Potato Commission writes a blog called Dr. Potato for the commission.
The blog has recently expanded into an even more popular source of information as consumers come to the site looking for information on specific potato questions, like why a potato turned grey or if it can be frozen.
“Dr. Potato tries to answer those questions and more. We’ll never be able to gear up for the holiday questions like the “Butterball Turkey Hotline” but I think the blog helps people be confident in wanting to cook Idaho potatoes for their friends and family more often,” Odiorne said in an e-mail.
In addition to teaching consumers how to best use potatoes and showing them serving suggestions, companies can connect with consumers through current events and media opportunities.
Potandon recently partnered with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment to save consumers $5 when they purchased the DVD release of “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2” and a bag of potatoes.
“The promotion allowed retailers to set up secondary displays in areas that consumers normally would not see them and increased basket size for both grocery and produce,” Keckler said.