Tapping into growing demand for sweet potatoes, Salinas, Calif.-based Mann Packing plans to showcase its fresh-cut sweet potato spears and cubes Oct. 15-18 at Fresh Summit 2010 in Orlando, Fla.

Mann’s booth is 3781. Also featured are the company’s butternut squash cubes and its Meat & Cheese Platter, a finalist in the Impact awards for packaging.

Cut and bagged sweet potatoes and butternut squash have been in Mann’s stable for several years, with some packaging changes. But the company hopes to capitalize on recent publicity for sweet potatoes.

“It’s very trendy to see a sweet potato fry on a menu instead of a standard french fry,” said Elena Hernandez, Mann’s marketing coordinator. “It started out more as a foodservice item in restaurants. Now restaurants and retailers are both boasting about the nutrition of the fries, but sweet potatoes also bring something unique to the plate in color and consistency.”

Sweet potatoes have been touted for being high in fiber; beta carotene; antioxidants; and vitamins C and E.

Both the sweet potatoes and the butternut squash were featured in May at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s convention in Vancouver. The squash is popular year-round in Canada but is more of a fall item in the U.S.

Chef Adrienne Saldivar-Meier will serve Mann’s sweet potato scramblers with Canadian bacon at the booth on Oct 16. Butternut squash and broccolini salad with miso dressing will also be available.

Confetti meatballs — made with Mann’s broccoli coleslaw — are planned for the menu.

Sunday’s menu will offer broccoli coleslaw scramblers with sausage and lo mein Asian stir-fry with sugar snap peas and wasabi ginger dressing.

Mann Packing plays up sweet potatoes