Packaging for potatoes is consistent in the Pacific Northwest.
Bill Brewer, executive director of the Portland-based Oregon Potato Commission, doesn’t expect to see anything change drastically when it comes to what packaging styles are popular.
“We expect this to remain consistent with the last couple of years,” he said of potato packaging trends.
Still, some shippers have noticed a growing trend toward smaller pack sizes.
“We’re seeing less of the larger size profiles, and more of the fives, threes and twos,” said Larry Sieg, Washington sales and general manager for Idaho Falls, Idaho-based Potandon Produce LLC.
Steve Long, sales manager, Progressive Produce/Jones Produce, Quincy, Wash., agreed.
“With the trend toward smaller families and more frequent purchases, we’re seeing consumers buy more five-pounders than compared to a few years ago,” he said.
Sieg said Potandon uses mostly poly bags, although it does some mesh bags for colored varieties.
Other packaging trends include more demand for colored variety and specialty packs.
“We do quite a few minis, the really small potatoes,” Sieg said.
Having the proper equipment is important for handling specialty options.
“That’s why we have extensive sizing and packing equipment, for those mini and fingerling products,” Sieg said.
Still, these new trends are still the minority.
“Russets are the standard, but we do the others as well,” Sieg said.
Brewer says about 50% of Oregon’s potato crop is used in the fry plants, which means their potato trends are heavily skewed to russets.
“Russets are the leading variety in fresh with only about 3% being colored,” Brewer said.