Winter may be dawning during the Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday period, but for potato and onion marketers, things are heating up.
Both are staple items in all holiday feasts, so they are easy to find and easy for retailers to display, said Lauren Dees, marketing manager with Lake Park, Ga.-based onion grower-shipper Generation Farms.
“Onions can easily have a home all over the store, helping consumers with easy meal ideas,” she said.
“During the appropriate time of year, onions can partner with an outdoor theme to encourage grilling, tomatoes and jalapeños for tailgate salsa or carrots and sweet potatoes near the holidays.”
Reidsville, Ga.-based Vidalia onion grower-shipper Shuman Farms has a program for sharing during the holidays, said John Shuman, president and CEO.
“This holiday season, through our special Feeding America RealSweet sweet onion bags, Shuman Farms is partnering with Feeding America to help those affected by hunger during this crucial time of year,” he said.
“In addition, Shuman Farms will be working with Produce for Kids to spread awareness about childhood hunger and Feeding America programs that tackle this important issue.”
The holiday season is an important marketing and merchandising season for onions, as well as potatoes, said Eric Beck, marketing director with Idaho Falls, Idaho-based grower-shipper Wada Farms Marketing Group LLC.
“The holiday months are some of the highest demand months of the season for these commodities,” he said.
“Marketing can be inclusive of ensuring surety of supplies, good quality, recipe usage, etc. It really comes down to if you’re marketing to a B2B or B2C audience.”
Houston-based MountainKing Potatoes sees the holiday season as a “golden” marketing opportunity, said John Pope, vice president of sales and marketing.
“When it comes to the holidays, it’s all about MountainKing Golds,” he said.
“There’s a huge consumer demand for the variety this time of year. Year in and year out our retail partners report strong incremental growth when they promote Golds during the holidays — I expect this year to be no different.”
Holiday promotions are central to driving total year sales success, said Rachel Atkinson-Leach, category and brand manager at Bancroft, Wis.-based Russet Potato Exchange Inc.
“Promoting commodity potatoes/onions and larger bag sizes during core holidays is a must, like Easter, July Fourth, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas,” she said.
While the small potato segment is a strong contributor to total category success, this segment is particularly important to promote during the summer months of June to August to help build dollars and attention on the potato category, Atkinson-Leach said.
“RPE always features a mix of holiday promotions for both the commodity and small/specialty segments,” she said.
Friesland, Wis.-based Alsum Farms anticipates the uptick in potato consumption during the holiday season, and offers options that will accommodate increased consumption, said Christine Lindner, national sales and marketing manager.
“For the holidays, we are offering a 20-pound russet baker pack as families gather around the dinner table; it provides the best value,” she said.
“Additionally, we are currently promoting ad volume for B-size red and gold potatoes. This size potato can help retailers bring a fresh offering to the category at a great value.”