Potato Grower

August Potato/IGSA 2010

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COMMISSION MISSION by Frank Muir, IPC President and CEO Market Blitz Understanding the work done by IPC field directors OVER THE LAST SEVEN YEARS, the Idaho Potato Commission’s retail marketing strategy has changed significantly to help retailers better understand the value of the Idaho potato brand and the positive impact the brand has on sales in the produce department. The IPC’s retail division is comprised of four field directors who meet regularly with the key decision makers at every retail chain across the United States. The directors serve as consultants to produce managers, helping them increase the overall profitability of the potato category while ensuring Idaho potatoes are prominently displayed and promoted. They accomplish this with the help of several tools: 1) Market Data Report: A summary of existing research that helps retailers better understand how the potato category is performing in terms of market share, sales dollars, volume and overall trends; 2) Competitive Advertising Report: A summary of the local competition’s advertising initiatives over that last two years that includes the number of times a grocer has advertised Idaho potatoes, the size of the ad and the product promoted. Information such as this can help a retailer identify why certain products may be underperforming and quickly implement a solution; 3) Promotional Opportunities: Promotions are proven to significantly boost sales, and the IPC sponsors several each year: A) National Tie-in Promotions: Partnering with popular brands such as the Beef Council and Fresh Gourmet Crispy Toppings is an efficient way to increase the impact of a promotion at a lower cost. These promotions often include in-store displays, which result in a dramatic increase in Idaho potato sales; B) Potato Lover’s Month (PLM) Retail Display Contest: PLM was established to help boost Idaho potato sales during one of the slowest months of the year, February. The IPC’s PLM Display Contest has become one of the most anticipated and successful produce promotions in the country with thousands of retailers building head- turning displays for a chance to win cash and prizes. Since the launch of the contest, February has become a strong month for potato sales; in fact, Idaho potato market share increases dramatically during this period; C) Retailer Specific Promotions: The IPC has worked closely in the past with a number of major retailers to develop tailored promotions. These chain-specific promotions result in a significant increase in sales of Idaho potatoes through the strong support that retailers give the Idaho potato brand. Examples of past promotions include a chance for loyal shoppers to win free groceries for a year and a mini, cooking-themed vacation; D) Bin Promotions: Bin promotions are a tactical tool used primarily to focus on certain sizes depending on the profile of the crop. Last year when there were lots of big potatoes, the IPC ran a promotion, packing them in bags instead of cartons in order to reduce pressure on the foodservice carton market. This year, when the industry had lots of small potatoes, a promotion was developed to focus on bags. Bins, like the kind that display watermelons, are placed in high-traffic areas and generate at least five to 10 times more sales of Idaho potatoes. In addition to working closely with retailers, the field directors interact regularly with your Idaho shippers. Weekly reports and one-on-one meetings conducted throughout the year help the shippers better understand the dynamic retail environment and learn more about their customers and accounts. One of the other responsibilities of the field directors is to encourage retailers who don’t sell Idaho potatoes to reconsider and begin stocking them. In the last year, nine new retailers have started carrying at least one Idaho potato item on a permanent basis. The IPC’s retail team is dedicated to identifying ways to grow Idaho potato market share and strengthen its position as a premium brand, sought after by consumers. PG 26 Potato Grower | AUGUST 2010

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