FOCUS ON FRESH
G H Q
SPURRING SPUD SALES
Sprucing up the potato offerings, as well as creative merchandising, can heat up sales during sluggish months.
BY LINDSEY WOJCIK
WHAT IS A THANKSGIVING MEAL WITHOUT A SIDE OF MASHED POTATOES? Is Christmas dinner complete without a helping of cheesy potatoes? Would lighting the candles on the first night of Hanukkah be the same
if latkes were not on the table?
There is no denying it; potatoes have become essential to the many
holiday meals eaten around the country—and grocery store sales prove
that. But seasons change, and the time for peak potato sales has come
and gone. However, retailers can look to the innovative products and
packaging improvements that growers are introducing, along with support from commodity boards, to keep sales in the category alive during
slower sales months.
Industry observers say that although retailers may experience a dip
in potato sales after the holidays, potatoes remain a very popular dinner
item. In fact, Sarah Reece, global marketing manager for Denver-based
Potatoes USA, says potatoes are second only to poultry among the gen-
eral population at dinnertime.
“Even with consumers eating out for dinner more often than last year,
potatoes still have a strong place on the plate during dinners at home,”
Reece says. “Although baked, fried and mashed are still the most com-
mon preparation methods, consumers appear to be cooking potatoes in
an increasing variety of ways.”
Perhaps that experimentation can be attributed to the hard work that
growers and commodity boards have done to supply and share creative
recipes with consumers. An intriguing recipe can inspire a consumer to
add potatoes to their shopping list. However, if quality potatoes are not