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Convenience potato range a nod to growing sector

The rise in the popularity of convenient and easy to prepare produce items continues to make its presence felt in supermarkets. One potato producer has recognized this trend and has created a number of products to cover almost every aspect of preparing potatoes. 

Fresh Solutions Network, its members based across the US and PEI, created what they have named the "Side Delights" convenience range and potato kits. The Convenience range includes 'Steamables', 'Bakeables', and 'Grillables', and they also have Potato kits in 'Roastables' and 'Flavorables', each providing a different cooking method for potatoes. Molly Connors of Basin Gold, a member of Fresh Solutions Network, said the company began introducing the convenience range almost 10 years ago.

"We began offering the Bakeables range almost 10 years ago and have added to that since," Connors said. "The Side Delights brand came into being about 3 to 4 years ago. The range is in response to the growing trend of convenience produce items. This sector has experienced year on year growth, and is especially targeted to Millennials and time-poor consumers looking for a healthy, quick and easy-to-prepare meal choices."

The range
The potatoes are sourced from all over the United States and Canada, primarily to coincide with the seasons. "Basin Gold grow potatoes in Washington and Oregon states," Connors said. "We also have a national network and are able to source the potatoes for the range from different states in the US and Canada, including Idaho, North Dakota, Minnesota, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Maine and also Prince Edward Island. This allows us to source fresh potatoes according to the season."

  • Bakeables - The first introduced, they are available in red, yellow, russet and sweet potatoes. The potatoes are sold individually and whole, encased in a single use wrapper designed to be baked straight in the microwave.
  • Steamables - There are 8 varieties available in the Steamables range, red, golden, russet, purple, fingerling, sweet, medley of different potatoes, and a new Duo option. Each come in a 1.5 lb pack that can be prepared either in the microwave or also taken out of the package and prepared in any conventional manner.
  • Grillables - These come in two different varieties, the russet and sweet potato. The potatoes are sold individually or in 3 count packs. They are wrapped in foil which can be placed directly on a grill, or in the oven. 
  • Roastables - This is part of the Potato Kits range. The Roastables are offered in 1lb metal trays comprised of small, petite reds, yellows, or a mixture of both. All 3 selections have what the company calls Montana Mex seasoning along with other flavors and herbs. They can also cooked either in the oven or on a grill.
  • Flavorables - One of the newest options, these are microwaveable, 1lb tray available with different seasonings. There are two yellow potato options, one with Malaysian Curry seasoning and the other with Smokin' Tomato. There is also a red potato choice with a Chimichurri seasoning.
Smaller pack sizes becoming more popular
Not only are consumers looking for a greater range of fast preparation and cooking options, but they are also buying smaller pack sizes. Hence why Connors said the company has opted for sizes designed to be used once. "We have observed the tendency of buyers to opt for smaller package sizes," she said. "As an demonstration of this, 5lb fresh potato packs continue to out-sell 10lb packs. People are looking to reduce food waste and to purchase sizes suitable for smaller sized families."

Connors also observed that higher sales of convenience packs are centered on larger population centers, such as major metropolitan regions. This is where the majority of the Side Delights range are available. "Availability is regionally targeted," she noted. "We see strong sales in the Northwest and along the West Coast, and also the Northeast of the United States, with some growth in Central distribution also. Convenience packs are largely location based and population driven, so naturally we see a bigger uptake in metro locations."

The company has widespread distribution in retail stores and supermarkets. Connors said they have seen greater success in working with smaller retailers. "The smaller supermarkets seem to market them better," she said. "It's easier to work on displays with a company that has several hundred stores as opposed to several thousand."

Future developments
Basin Gold have seen strong growth in the Side Delights range. They intend to expand on their options on these into the future, and more immediately will be working on different flavor options for the current range. 

"Continued innovation is highly important to our business," Connors continued. "We will be continuing to expand on our items, including organic. These are areas where we see sustained growth into the future. Currently, we are also working on new flavors for our microwaveable tray options.

Southern Exposure participation
Basin Gold will be attending Southern Exposure in Tampa next month. Connors said the company is excited to attend and exhibit its range. "Basin Gold will be part of the Fresh Solutions Network," she said. "In last year's expo, we launched the Flavorables range. This year, all of our items in the Convenience and Specialty categories will be on display."

"We really enjoy exhibiting at these smaller scale expos," she added. "Large shows like PMA Fresh Summit are great, but more regional shows like Southern Exposure are gaining traction because they are more manageable and intimate so you get a chance to meet up with many retailers and customers. There is a good retailer presence at Southern Exposure."

Check out Basin Gold's Side Delights Convenience range at Southern Exposure where they will be located at Booth number 414.

For more information:
Molly Connors
Basin Gold
Tel: +1 (509) 545-4161