'Tis the season to be jolly!


22 December 2022
Holiday marks a busy period for US industry.

THE Christmas holidays come at a perfect time for the US potato industry, according to Ross Johnson of the Idaho Potato Commission. 

The country's largest growing state, Idaho, finished harvest mid-October and has now finished a process called ‘the sweat’, Ross said. During this 30-day process, the skin on the potato becomes firm, which gives the product a good shelf life. This process finishes in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“Thanksgiving is our number one sales holiday and Christmas is the second busiest,” he said. "Demand is high this time of year, even with elevated pricing. We are not seeing volume take a hit, which is in line with our research that shows demand for potatoes is inelastic. Pound for pound potatoes offer the best value in the entire produce department.”

Larger pack sizes are trending this season. “In some regions, we are seeing a trend back towards larger pack sizes, especially for the holidays,” said Ross, adding that with families getting together for the holidays, this is a perfect time of year to bring back 10lb. Russets and merchandise them with 5lb red and yellow potatoes. Petite potatoes are also popular.

“Families have really found some ways to get creative with petite potato offerings. Merchandising baby potatoes with the rest of the category enables capitalising on additional sales as baby potatoes don’t cannibalise the sales of the larger pack sizes.”

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While Idaho is world-renowned for its Russet potatoes, the state has been diversifying its crop profile over the years and is also the number one grower of yellow potatoes in the country. Diversification has resulted in Idaho growers being able to supply everything from Russets to reds, yellows, and specialty potatoes. “Due to the diversification, Idaho shippers have become a one-stop-shop for retailers,” Ross said. 

In addition to the holiday peak in demand for potatoes, the Idaho Potato Commission also sees a peak in February for the launch of Potato Lovers Month. This coming February, the prize will be an all-expenses paid vacation to the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.

Source: Fresh Plaza

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