The Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association Inc. is continuing its partnership with National Hockey League all-star Joe Pavelski this season. ( Photo courtesy Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association Inc. )

Potato and onion trade groups have planned a plethora of promotions to encourage consumption of their product. Here’s a look at some of the activities now underway.

National Onion Association

The Greeley, Colo.-based National Onion Association has created an onion toolkit for retail dietitians, said René Hardwick, director of public and industry relations.

“It’s a turnkey supplement that dietitians can use to talk about the benefits of onions,” she said.

The toolkit covers cooking classes, recipes, social media posts, questions and answers and “anything you want to know about onions,” she said.

The original toolkit, available online at, went out early this year, and a fall supplement, which covers diabetes management, fall tailgating and Family Meals Month, now is available as well. Winter and spring supplements also will be issued.

The association also plans to introduce a new onion character, Nature’s Ninja, by early next year.

The character will be used to highlight the nutrition and health benefits of onions and talk about how onions can be beneficial to one’s diet, Hardwick said.

Nature’s Ninja’s introduction will be publicized via social media, a nationwide infographic release and through the association’s website.

Potatoes USA

Denver-based Potatoes USA has launched a campaign that shows how potatoes fuel athletic performance while posing the question “What Are You Eating?” said Jill Rittenberg, global marketing manager.

“The campaign is based on the idea that consistently beating your personal best isn’t just about how you train — but what you eat,” she said.

It is implemented through events, social media, advertising, influencer marketing and industry engagement, she said.

“This is a big opportunity to fundamentally change how people perceive potatoes,” Rittenberg said.

“We’re starting with athletes, but it kind of trickles down to everybody,” she said.

Potatoes USA has put together “a ton of resources” to get the message out.

Rittenberg is hopeful that state organizations, potato processors and suppliers will help share the message.

“There’s power in numbers,” she said.

Potatoes USA touted the spud’s health benefits at Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon events in Chicago and Philadelphia and plans to turn out for the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon and Half set for Dec. 1 and 2.

Wisconsin group

The Antigo-based Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association Inc. has some “all-encompassing” promotions scheduled, said Dana Rady, director of promotion, communication and consumer education.

  • The Wisconsin Spudmobile continues to be a major attraction for events, schools and retail stores throughout Wisconsin and the Midwest, she said. The vehicle appears at select Green Bay Packer football games and provides potato dish samples, “which is a huge hit for those walking into the stadium and tailgating in the area,” she said.
  • The association is continuing its partnership with National Hockey League all-star and two-time Olympian Joe Pavelski. WPVGA has produced posters that are available to retail stores, cardboard cutouts, pull-up banners and a 30-second commercial.
  • Registered dietitian Sarah Agena is conducting Wisconsin potato-related samplings at retail stores throughout Wisconsin and the Midwest and has regular TV spots on various stations in Wisconsin.
  • The association has been airing TV commercials that feature Joe Pavelski, tell a field-to-fork story and that “thank a farmer” during Packer games in regions of Wisconsin and the Midwest.

Idaho Potato Commission

The Eagle-based Idaho Potato Commission is conducting a 2018 Harvest Promotion Tie-in with Westlake Village, Calif.-based Fresh Gourmet’s crispy garlic chips, which can be used as a topping for Idaho potatoes, said Seth Pemsler, vice president of retail.

The promotion, which runs through Christmas, includes a display shipper that features Idaho potatoes on top and Fresh Gourmet’s Crispy Garlic on the bottom.

Shoppers who buy the garlic chips will receive $1 off Idaho potatoes.

In-ad coupons are available for retailers who choose to use them, Pemsler said.

The harvest promotion will be followed by a promo during Idaho Potato Lover’s Month.

Idaho Potato Lover’s Month is February, Pemsler said, “but because it’s gotten so big, we run it mid-January to mid-March.”

So many retailers participate — typically about 5,000 stores — that the industry can’t meet the demand, Pemsler said.

“That’s a lot of stores to supply with display-quality potatoes in one month.”

The Idaho Potato Commission also is offering advertising allowances at the beginning of the crop year and during winter into spring for retailers who incorporate the word “Idaho” and the Idaho potatoes logo into their ads. 

Another tie-in promotion is expected to launch in April or May.