April 2021 Highlights
Hello everyone! Welcome to today’s episode of Potato-cast. A Potatoes USA podcast, full of all of your favorite potato industry content.
I’m Natalia Cervantes, Potatoes USA Conversation Architect, and your host.
Today we will cover new menu launches and upcoming developed recipes, consumer attitudes and usage of potatoes, Team Potato Updates, and what’s happening internationally to keep pushing the demand of U.S. POTATOES
So let’s get into it!
First of all, did anyone hear about Arby’s newest addition to its menu? I’ll give you a hint, it has to do with potatoes. If you are thinking fries, you are correct! After testing crinkle-cut fries in 2020, the quick-service chain has officially added them to their menu nationwide. Research from Datassential shows crinkle-cut fries increased by 10% on menus in the past year, by 41% in the past four years, and are predicted to grow by an additional 15% in the next four years. With Arby’s curly fries having been ranked #1 as best fast-food fries by Thrillist this past summer, it makes sense to expand with yet another consumer-loved spud.
And speaking of foodservice, one of the ways Potatoes USA helps inspire foodservice professionals to cook and menu potatoes in new and exciting ways is by working with Chef’s Roll, one of the leading culinary content-producing organizations in the world, along with other influential chefs, to develop innovative dishes using fresh, frozen, and dehy potatoes. Just recently, Potatoes USA and Chef’s Roll partnered with Chef Mark Schmitt of Trust Restaurant Group in San Diego, CA to produce potato-focused recipes and corresponding videos to showcase how potatoes can help elegant dishes hold form, heat and flavor for that perfect delivery in-style. The new recipes were developed with the take-out feature in mind but can easily be prepared for those dining in as well. Chef Mark took the approach of elegant dishes that are upscale but still simple enough. From crispy gnocco fritto (fried gnocchi) to beef fat twice baked potato, these non-traditional dishes appeal to consumers who want a special experience, whether eating at the restaurant or at home.
While on the topic of mouth-watering recipes, I want to share with you our 13 newly developed recipes that we originally created to showcase the possibilities potatoes have on the Cinco de Mayo table, but are also timeless recipes for the summer that will make people run back for seconds at your next backyard BBQ. The Mexican-Inspired dishes include classics with a twist such as masa crusted potatoes with chili braised beef, Baja style fish tacos with potato-corn tortillas, and tres leches potato poundcake with fresh berries and sea salt caramel. There are also very vibrant dishes that are on the lighter side like grilled fingerling potatoes in a green chili vinaigrette, shrimp ceviche with purple potato chips, and an arugula salad with crispy potato croutons and chili lime dressing and more! These recipes live on PotatoGoodness.com, and the recipe document and photos can be downloaded directly from PotatoesUSA.com.
Moving on to some retail talk, I have some great news to share. The Packer released its top 20 fruits and vegetables trends report from 2020, and potatoes are at the top of the vegetable list!
We know consumer trends are constantly shifting and it’s important to keep a pulse on these insights, so Kayla Dome has updated the in-store fresh potato consumer shopping profile with data from January 2020 through December 2020. It includes potato consumer information from the annual Attitudes and Usage Study, Kantar Insights Total Store Study, and IRI Unify Sales Data. The updated profile shows that in 2020, the percentage of households purchasing fresh potatoes increased by 1% and the average number of potato purchases in 2020 increased to 7 purchases, that is 1 additional purchase a year. The people buying fresh potatoes the most are men and woman ages 55 and older, households with children 12 and older, and household incomes $50,000 and over. Of course, this updated consumer profile shares many other pertinent insights for retailers, and I encourage everyone to download it from PotatoesUSA.com.
While on the topic of consumer insights, Potatoes USA conducts an annual Consumer Attitudes and Usage study to track U.S. consumer’s mindset towards food and dietary choices and attitudes toward potatoes. Our last keeping it current video discussed the findings, but in case you missed it, the episode will be linked to within this episode on PotatoesUSA.com. The data it truly in favor of potatoes and you’ll certainly want to catch up with this year’s results in more depth. No spoilers but potatoes remain America’s favorite vegetable for the 5th year in a row and also they ranked as America’s favorite side dish and takeout dish. Overall, potatoes are the #1 vegetable sold in America.
And in case you’re wondering about the Spring Spud Run, Team Potato’s Spring Spud Run was a hit! The potato-fueled runners completed either a 5K, 10K or even longer distances, all around the country. After completing their run, they shared their accomplishments along with how potatoes were incorporated before, during or after, to the Team Potato Facebook group. And let me tell you, the engagement, encouragement, and potato love shared and celebrated between members was phenomenal! For some feel-good potato love, this is the Facebook Group to visit. The next Team Potato event will be a virtual bootcamp session, held at the end of May, with partner Carissa Galloway and I’m really looking forward to it.
I know this has been circulating around but I am very excited about this news item! As the result of a Potatoes USA outreach effort, Men’s Health featured an 8-page spread in its May Issue to set the record straight about potatoes and encourage readers to consume the nutrient-dense vegetable, without an ounce of guilt. The cover page of the feature says, “The Potato is back! Misguided diets and pseudo experts have for years tried to slander this lowly tuber as a fattening food and blood-sugar saboteur. Ignore the lies.” And let’s just say, this is definitely an article you don’t want to miss.
This is massive coverage for the potato industry, but on a smaller scale, other popular consumer outlets have discussed the potassium benefits of potatoes, such as Insider!
Now, lets talk U.S. potato efforts in international markets. As I mentioned in last month’s episode, Potatoes USA was in the middle of hosting the annual Reverse Trade Mission for importers and distributors from 15 markets, which is critical in creating loyalty to U.S. origin potatoes and driving increased usage of U.S. potato products at foodservice in high opportunity markets. Over the course of the week, the importers and distributors learned about how U.S. potatoes are grown, harvested, stored, processed, and transported for end use. They also had the opportunity to talk with U.S. potato growers and ask questions which led to great discussions of a variety of topics, such as potato storage, different U.S. potato varieties, how the pandemic impacted U.S. farming, and how to address sprouting issues. Overall, the participants found the content and interaction extremely valuable. According to a post-event survey, many of the participants have never seen how U.S. potatoes are mass produced and harvested, and understanding the process helped them appreciate the efforts of U.S. potato growers and capacity that they operate. In addition to valuing the growing and storage practices, participants were in awe of the versatility presented in the menu trends presentations and culinary demonstrations. For many, U.S. potatoes are only associated with straight cut fries and ketchup. By showcasing the variety of cuts and formats and the multitude of applications they can be used in, the I/Ds can propose these applications to the volume foodservice operators that they serve.
Young Chef training may ring a bell as Potatoes USA has been conducting this activity in select markets for a number of years. This is an important activity to get young chefs around the world excited about using U.S. potatoes on their future menus and develop loyalty to the U.S. brand. Due to the success of the program, this Marketing Year is the first time the young chef training activity is being implemented in all of the international markets Potatoes USA operates in. So far, the trainings have occurred in Japan, Mexico, and Thailand and are also planned for China, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
And remember in the retail update Kayla Dome shared with us the success grocery stores are having with displays domestically? Well, the success rolls over to international retail as well. Hema, one of China’s largest retailers, hosted a new SKU of U.S. frozen potatoes and set up displays with signage featuring U.S. potatoes at all of their sampling locations.
In Malaysia, five retailers increased sales of frozen potatoes by increasing the shelf space dedicated to the products.
Last but certainly not least, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that the SADER (the Ministry of Agriculture) has the right to establish the import requirements for agricultural products and that the judiciary cannot intervene to prevent their implementation. This ruling concludes a legal battle between the Mexican potato growers’ association CONPAPA and SADER that has been going on since full access for U.S. fresh potatoes was originally granted in 2014. NPC & Potatoes USA employed an extensive legal team to work on behalf of U.S. exporters, Mexican importers, and Mexican supermarkets throughout this time. This team provided much of the legal and other arguments that ultimately helped to win these cases.
SADER must now go through the process to reimplement the regulations to allow imports of U.S. fresh potatoes to cities with over 100,000 residents throughout Mexico. NPC & Potatoes USA will work closely with USDA and USTR to ensure this occurs as quickly as possible, but it is expected that further hurdles will be raised. We will continue to update as this progresses and I look forward to having John Toaspern join me again to have a deeper discussion around this ruling.
Well, that’s all the April highlights I have time for today. I hope you’ll tune in next time! One last reminder though, did you know, Potatoes USA provides social media content that can be repurposed on your organization’s social channels? Content from our recently promoted consumer posts is located on PotatoesUSA.com and can be downloaded directly from the website.
Thank you for listening to this episode of Potato-cast! Please subscribe on Spotify, Apple or Google Podcast by searching for Potato-cast.
All supporting documents for data provided in this episode can be found on potatoesusa.com. To see all the great information available about potatoes or new and fun ways to cook with potatoes, visit potatogoodness.com.
I am your host, Natalia Cervantes.
Until next time, take care everyone.