A big task for the retail field team is communication, Pemsler said.
“We try to be as accurate as possible,” he said. Pemsler agreed that sizes should be favorable for retailers in 2010-11, especially since 80% of potatoes sold at retailers are sold in bags.
Pemsler said improved pricing levels compared with a year ago should help both growers and retailers achieve better returns.
“If a retailer is not making money, he is not going to promote you or feature you,” Pemsler said.
Many retailers carry Idaho potatoes year-round, with other retailers that carry Idaho for perhaps nine to 10 months.
Overall, he speculated Idaho potatoes are carried in 85% to 90% of U.S. retail stores.
Pemsler said the commission is always working on expanding distribution in markets or adding retailers where Idaho is under-represented. That includes some regions and distribution centers for Bentonville, Ark., based Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Pemsler said that Idaho potatoes give other food products a halo effect, creating cross-promotion opportunities.
One such holiday promotion, slated for Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, is joint promotion effort with Fresh Gourmet Crispy Onions for a 55-cent coupon good on any bag of Idaho potatoes. The commission recommends retailers put a display promoting the tie-in near the potato section for maximum effect.