“We’re hoping it will be out for January,” Wall said.
Fingerlings made sense because they’re incredibly popular on food shows and chefs are using them, he said.
“People don’t know what to do with them, so we made it really simple.”
When the value-added category “took a nose dive” last year, the seven-minute Express Bake barely dropped in sales, he said, but it has lost market share to copycats.
Surveys show it has an average 84% consumer repurchase rate after the initial trial.
The potato supply dramatically affects the retail price, Wall said. Express Bake russets currently average 99 cents to $1.09 across the country, with a low of 79 cents and a high of $1.29.
National Potato Council plans annual expo
Vegas showgirls will share the stage with talks on zebra potato chip disease and acrylamide in processed potato products at the third Potato Expo Jan. 5-7 in Las Vegas.
Organizers say the conference, expected to attract more than 1,200 industry participants, is the largest conference and trade show for the North American potato industry.
The keynote speaker is NFL legend Terry Bradshaw, who is scheduled to talk about what it takes to be successful. The following day, Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson will discuss the 2010 midterm elections and beyond.
Potato Expo is sponsored by the National Potato Council and the U.S. Potato Board.
For more information, visit www.potato-expo.com.
Potandon Produce develops varieties
The colorful new varieties that generated excitement at the Potandon Produce booth this fall at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in Orlando aren’t quite ready for their close-up.
“People loved them,” said David Wheeler, new products and marketing manager for Potandon, Idaho Falls, Idaho, “but the varieties we took to PMA won’t be ready for the commercial market for another year or two.”
It takes seven years to bring a test variety into commercial production, Wheeler said.
“Those that don’t make the cut are kicked out.”
By the time popular varieties like Klondike Rose — red-skinned with gold flesh — and Golddust hit the market, the company knew they tasted great, they were going to work in the sheds and consumers would love them.
A value-added microwaveable bag of mini potatoes with roasted garlic sauce has also been a winner, he said.
As part of its foray into e-marketing, Potandon has launched a dedicated website.