(March 17, 1:30 p.m.) DENVER — Sandwich chain Subway plans to test a new product, Veggie Roasters, in 1,000 stores in April.

Tim Straus, co-founder and chief marketing officer of new product development company Turover-Straus Group, Springfield, Mo., which is contracted by the U.S. Potato Board, said this opportunity could really pay off for the potato industry.

He spoke at the potato board’s annual meeting March 13.

The product is two-thirds potatoes plus some carrots, broccoli and other vegetables. It is served with a cheese sauce. The 1,000-store launch comes off a 20-store test.

Subway needs to sell 20 servings a day per store for the product to earn its keep on the menu. With 20,000 stores, that equals 145 servings per year and 21 million pounds a year, Straus said.

Straus said development of this product followed the board’s push to bring the convenience of dry potato products to fresh product.

“The whole idea of having fresh and fast is very meaningful to consumers,” he said.

Part of the research and development effort included microwaveable steamer bags and bowls of fresh mashed potatoes.

Since consumers are preparing fewer side dishes, he said his company was also investigating how to get more potatoes served as part of a main dish.