Convenience continues to drive the value-added category in potato sales, marketers say.

“The microwavable continues to be very strong. It’s the single-serve in that microwavable segment that’s getting serious traction,” said Eric Beck, marketing director with Idaho Falls, Idaho-based Wada Farms Marketing Group LLC.

Shippers have expanded pack sizes and options, which has fed the growth of the value-added category, Beck said.

“It was, you could get a pound or 2 pounds. Now, we’re seeing people want 5-6 ounces for an individual serving in different flavor profiles, and that is finding growth,” he said.

Convenience is the category’s major driver, said Tim Huffcutt, marketing director with the Bancroft, Wis.-based Russet Potato Exchange Inc.

“Demand for convenience items remains strong from retailer and consumers alike,” he said.

“Shoppers at the same time are increasingly label-conscious and highly aware of additive ingredients.”

For a growing number of shoppers, less is more where serving sizes, and even ingredients, are concerned, Huffcutt said.

“The challenge for innovative suppliers is developing healthy products that make a head-of-household’s life easier by reducing the amount of time in the kitchen,” Huffcutt said.

Ideas add value, too, and labels can help in that area, Huffcutt said.

“We have begun experimenting with ‘Pairs well with’ messaging, with suggestions that leave the cook plenty of latitude to prepare the item to her/his liking,” Huffcutt said.