Wooten said sweet potatoes are ingredients in a wide variety of supermarket products, including spaghetti sauce and children’s yogurt.
“They have great flavor, great color and versatility,” Wooten said. “You can fry, boil, bake or grill it.”
Increased visibility throughout the supermarket helps increase demand for fresh potatoes, Wooten said.
California skips promotions
California also has a good crop of sweet potatoes to promote. Even so, Livingston, Calif.-based cooperative California Sweet Potato Growers doesn’t engage in marketing.
General manager Sarah Alvernaz, who worked for California Tree Fruit Agreement, Reedley, Calif., before joining the cooperative in 2008, said in California there is less promotional support for sweet potatoes than there is for some other produce.
She thinks it’s because sweet potatoes are still widely viewed as a commodity and there is little branding beyond carton labels in some areas.
“It’s not like grapes or peaches or lettuce (which have) lots of marketing dollars,” Alvernaz said. “It would serve the industry well to collectively build the program.”