by Potatoes USA
The domestic marketing committee meeting of Potatoes USA began with a review of sales and marketing research. The volume and value of frozen potato product sales at retail for the past five years were up 2%; the volume of dehy is down 11% and value down 8%; and fresh refrigerated sales up 13% in volume and 19% in value.
For fresh spuds, the volume was down 6% but the value up 6% with russets contributing significantly to the decline, off 13% in volume and down 6% in value. This was countered by an increase in 7% in the volume and 14% in value of red sales; yellows were up 50% in both volume and value; and the volume of purple/blue sales were up 58% with the value up 46% for the five-year period.
Consumer attitudes and in-home usage of tubers continued to improve based on research conducted for Potatoes USA. Potatoes’ (including chips) share of home meal occasions was 26% for breakfast, 41% for lunch, 43% for dinner and 40% for snacks. The share of dinners that included potatoes increased 2 points and puts spuds ahead of all other foods with pasta just below at 40%, rice at 36% and poultry at 31%. The closest vegetable was bagged salad at 20% of dinner occasions. Spuds are also three of the top four dishes served at foodservice led by fries at #1, salads #2, mashed #3 and baked #4. Products that included the product accounted for 9% of all new food items launched at retail.
The marketing department staff provided detailed updates on the programs starting with the Consumer program which is inspiring Food Enthusiasts to prepare and eat more potatoes through print, digital, social media and retail print advertising. Influencers from bloggers to food writers to celebrity chefs are also being engaged to provide inspiring new ways to prepare potatoes. The Spud Nation food trucks operating in Denver and Washington DC are being promoted through social media via Twitter, Instagram, Yelp and Facebook. On the nutrition front, Potatoes USA is establishing that the one lifestyle benefit of potatoes is that they are vital to people performing at their very best. This spans from elite athletes to hardworking adults to busy parents. This message is being delivered by RDs for professional sports teams, writers for fitness and lifestyle magazines and bloggers at FitFluential and elsewhere.
The Retail program is focused on increasing sales of all products at retail through shipper outreach, retailer outreach and consumer ads at retail. New tools and insights for both shippers and retailers will be launched soon. The Ingredient program is making the potato the ingredient MVP and providing food developers and chefs with piping hot inspiration. The Foodservice program is inspiring culinary professionals to offer more potato dishes on their menus. This is done through advertising and media, experiential marketing and events, culinary innovation and public relations. The School Foodservice program is hitting its stride as it creates future potato enthusiast through delicious and healthy potato dishes on school cafeteria menus. Potatoes are very underrepresented at breakfast in schools and thus Potatoes USA, in conjunction with the School Nutrition Association, has launched a campaign including a recipe contest designed to change this. The Potatoes USA Salad Bar Challenge has already placed 264 salad bars in schools across the country. These bars are making a difference not only in kid’s lives but in the inclusion of potatoes in school foodservice.