Potato Grower

August Potato/IGSA 2010

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Page 52 of 56

FROM THE BOARD by Tim O’Connor, Co-Chairman Domestic Marketing Committee Why? Answers to a frequent grower question “WHY DOES THE UNITED STATES Potato Board (USPB) do that?” is a question I hear from growers from time to time. The answer is because what we do is based on consumer and marketplace research, and the research we conduct identifies where we should apply our resources to successfully increase demand for potatoes. Here are a few examples of programs we are engaged in because research identified the need or opportunity to apply our efforts. n We are bringing chefs from the top 350 restaurant chains to a special potato seminar at the Culinary Institute of America each year because our research identified restaurant chains were changing their menus to offer healthier items, but were not including potatoes in those healthier offerings. Learning that this new trend was happening, but that potatoes were not participating, gave us the ability to see the importance of demonstrating to chefs that potatoes could be a very exciting component of their healthier movement. To date, 40 percent of the chefs attending the seminar have added new potato items to their menus. n The aging population in Japan was seeking soft foods to add to their diet. We identified this opportunity through our market research and positioned U.S. frozen mashed potatoes as a nutritious and versatile soft food and gained entry to hospitals, nursing homes and other institutional feeders for frozen mashed. n We have recently opened representative offices and are conducting programs to build demand for U.S. potato and potato products in Vietnam and Central America because our market research identified that conditions were favorable for U.S. potatoes to enter these markets and gain traction with consumers. --The frozen meals offered by the major brands that you can buy in supermarkets seldom include potatoes—most feature rice or pasta as their main side dishes. We conducted research to learn from the meal manufacturers why they were not including potatoes more often. With this knowledge in hand, we are beginning to launch programs that will address the manufacturers’ concerns and overcome the barriers to more potato offerings. There are many other examples I could list, but I trust that it is easy to understand that what the USPB does is based on market and consumer research and designed to increase demand for U.S. potatoes and potato products. PG www.potatogrower.com 29

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