It is a great marketing year for potato grower-shippers.
The Eagle-based Idaho Potato Commission is approaching the end of a sixth year in a row of increased farm-gate revenues. Frank Muir, chief executive officer, said that’s a record winning streak for the state.
“We’re moving profitably and we’re moving the entire crop,” Muir said.
The U.S. Potato Board, Denver, directs marketing efforts at the industry, commercial trade and consumers, said Kathleen Triou, vice president of domestic marketing.
“All roads lead to increasing demand for all potato types,” Triou said.
Marketers are increasingly using interactive online media to engage with consumers.
Getting consumers to go beyond simply viewing a message to “liking” a message, joining a fan club, entering recipe contests, and asking questions about a brand or item makes it more likely that they will remember that product when shopping.
The U.S. Potato Board is focusing on reaching “Linda,” the prototypical potato consumer.
Other associations are trying to reach the population that Linda represents too. The Idaho Potato Commission continues to make its website more interactive and consumer-oriented with contests, videos, recipes and games.
Consumers love potatoes, so restaurant chefs and foodservice operators should put them on their menus, Triou said. Potatoes also help boost profits because they are relatively inexpensive and can be prepared in many creative ways.
Marketers encourage chefs to use different varieties of potatoes and experiment with various recipes and preparation techniques.
Demand for potatoes is strong on the global market too, especially with recent shortages in major potato-producing countries China and Russia.
U.S. potato production was down for the 2010 crop as compared to 2009, and stocks in February were 14% lower than the previous year. Strong demand and limited supplies have produced a market with prices that are four times higher than last year’s for some potatoes.