The holidays come at a great time for the US potato industry. “We finished harvest mid-October and by now Idaho, the country’s largest growing state, has finished a process called ‘the sweat’,” says Ross Johnson with the Idaho Potato Commission. During this 30-day process, the skin on the potato becomes firm, which gives the product a great shelf life. This process finishes in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“Thanksgiving is our number one sales holiday and Christmas is the second busiest,” commented Johnson. 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 and petite offerings both popular
Trending this season are larger pack sizes. “In some regions, we are seeing a trend back towards larger pack sizes, especially for the holidays,” said Johnson. 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 capitalizing on additional sales as baby potatoes don’t cannibalize the sales of the larger pack sizes.”
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,” Johnson 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, a lucky entrant will be awarded with an all-expenses paid vacation to the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. The contest can simply be entered from a cell phone.
For more information:
Idaho Potato Commission