Idaho potato display contest runs twice as longThe Idaho Potato Commission is doubling the length of its annual retail display contest.

The Potato Lover’s Month Retail Display Contest — normally in February, Potato Lover’s Month — will run from mid-January to mid-March to ensure that contestants receive their potato orders during the contest period, according to a news release from the Eagle-based commission.

“The contest has continued to explode in popularity, with up to 5,000 retailers entering every year, and that has resulted in tremendous demand for Idaho potato shipments during those weeks,” Jamie Bowen, the commission’s marketing manager, said in the release. “And the earlier start to the contest in January will give retailers an opportunity to tie in with the Super Bowl — a perfect merchandising event for tasty potato snacks.”

More than $150,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded in this year’s contest, and everyone who enters will receive a free Cuisinart Advantage cutlery set and a knife block.

The commission is once again partnering with Hormel Real Bacon Bits for this year’s contest.

Merchandising materials available from the commission for the displays include two round double-sided Potato Lover’s Month logo signs, a large and a small double-sided recipe photo sign, two inflatable Mylar Spuddy Buddies, clip art and recipes.

“We provide all the ingredients for a customer-pleasing merchandising display, and our retailers’ creativity is the finishing touch,” Bowen said in the release. “Every year we see so many different ways that retailers choose to showcase Idaho potatoes, and these displays also help generate higher sales throughout the produce department.”