Idaho potatoes represent approximately one third of United States potatoes yielding 13 billion pounds of potatoes annually. The state is already the potato market leader and experienced 321,000 acres grown in 2014. The USDA has acreage numbers slightly lower at 315,000 acres.

Shipments of 100 weight potatoes (100lbs of potatoes) saw an increase throughout September to November with nearly a million 100 weight potatoes sold ahead of a year ago. Prices are currently trending up versus a year ago. “This year is trending towards a very positive crop year for Idaho farmers,” explains Frank W. Muir, president and CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission.

The majority of retailers stock their shelves with Idaho grown potatoes. As a nationwide brand, Idaho ships to all 50 states and has 78 years of established brand recognition. “We compete with all 50 states because every state grows potatoes. But if you ask customers where the best potatoes come from they’ll answer Idaho with a smile.”

Idaho began shipping fresh potatoes outside the United States 10 years ago. Exporting occurs to Malaysia, Hong Kong and Macau, Canada, Central America, the Caribbean, Singapore, and Mexico. “Mexico will currently only allow us to ship 26km inland from the border, however in those 26km we own a third of the market.”

The Idaho Potato Commission also endeavours on trade missions to expand business. Currently the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia are prospective countries to export potatoes. On a recent trade mission to South America, the Commission was accompanied by businesses which use 100% dehydrated Idaho potatoes. “Everything 100% Idaho benefits the growers, and by finding new export destinations we are able to expand our market,” states Muir, “we recognize that there are great growth opportunities for our fresh potatoes which currently account for roughly 5% of our total fresh volume.”

Frozen and dehydrated potatoes account for approximately 50% of Idaho’s crop. “Customer research is conducted regularly about what word comes to mind when we say, “Idaho Potatoes.” Quality is the word answered most often.”

Idaho dedicates nearly 1 million dollars annually towards potato research including new varieties, farm practices, pest and disease control, and storage conditions. “Idaho combines its research with Washington and Oregon,” reflects Muir, “By using this method, we ensure new research is always being conducted, and none of it is repeated.”

The Idaho Potato Commission is currently planning on expanding their quality marketing. For the last three years, a six ton potato sculpture has travelled throughout all 48 mainland states to promote Idaho potatoes. The Big Idaho Potato Truck has visited the NFL Hall of Fame, NASA, the Kentucky Derby, as well as many other iconic locations. “Originally we planned it for our 75th anniversary, but people loved it so much that we just kept going,” explains Muir, “It was well received and we get free media coverage in every city we visit.”

The use of social media is also imperative for the Commission’s promotion of Idaho Potatoes. There are over 150 Idaho potato videos on YouTube, not to mention Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts where consumers can communicate directly with the Commission. “We’re planning to keep on marketing for the next 75 years to help keep Idaho Potatoes at the frontline and to ensure our consumers a healthy future.”

For more information please contact:
Frank W. Muir
Idaho Potato Commission
Tel: 208-334-2350
Fax: 208-334-2274