Scramlin said the industry is seeing gains in consumption through the yearlong push.
Retail sales account for about half of Wada’s sweet potato sales, he said.
Stewart Precythe, president and chief executive officer of Southern Produce Distributors Inc., Faison, N.C., frequently visits retail customers and views their displays.
“We think they do a good job displaying and marketing sweet potatoes, especially during the holidays when they run big features on them,” he said.
“We definitely run ads and features during Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.”
Nash Produce Co. works closely with its retail customers to help them expand sales, said Thomas Joyner, general manager.
The Nashville, N.C.-based packer, which markets for 30 growers, promotes some of the local aspects of sweet potatoes on its packaging.
It also helps retailers in packaging and display design and through customized point-of-sale materials, Joyner said.
“We try to anticipate their needs by offering assistance with marketing, which can include banners and displays,” Joyner said.
“Some of the retailers are just beginning to realize this because not so many suppliers are willing to offer them assistance in marketing their product.”
Jimmy Burch, co-owner of Faison-based Burch Farms, characterizes retail as a mature market.
“Consistent demand is how I’d describe it,” he said. “The retailers do very well overall in merchandising them.”