Idaho potatoes - business updates

GPOD of Idaho growers undergo GAP audits

Kevin Searle, general manager for Shelley-based GPOD of Idaho, said all the firm’s growers are certified for good agricultural practices.

In the last two years, Searle said processors have begun to insist grower-shippers that provide processing product undergo GAP audits.

Searle said the 41-year-old company is an independent shipper with an independent grower base that exclusively focuses on the russet burbank.

“Our No. 1 reason is that we will get premium return that will run up against the norkotah, and the primary reason is that our people on the other end don’t want a norkotah,” he said.

“They like how the burbank performs every time they put it on a plate.

“We’re trying to keep the pool of growers loyal to the burbank and they have done a good job of raising the highest quality burbanks in the state of Idaho.”

Nonpareil ramps up Betty Crocker marketing

Scott Phillips, vice president of sales and marketing for Nonpareil Corp., Blackfoot, Idaho, said the firm is meeting with retailers to discuss promotion strategies for the company’s new Betty Crocker-label potatoes.

“It is one of the best food labels in the industry, with huge brand awareness,” he said. “When you take the appeal of
Betty Crocker, the trusted name and brand and put a premium potato in there, hopefully you get a consumer reaction.

Nonpareil will offer traditional pack options for the Betty Crocker label, including 3-pound, 5-pound, 8-pound and 10-pound consumer poly bags, and 50-pound cartons for foodservice.

The firm also intends to unveil a new style of packaging for the label in the months ahead, he said.

Pleasant Valley Potato takes back sales duties

After four years of marketing through Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Cos. Inc., Aberdeen, Idaho-based Pleasant Valley Potato Inc., will handle its own sales and marketing in 2010-11, said Ryan Wahlen, general manager at Pleasant Valley Potato Inc.

“We’re doing our own sales and marketing,” Whalen said.

While Whalen said he nothing but praise for L&M, Pleasant Valley Potato felt it lost some of its identity when it wasn’t doing its own marketing.

“We’re just returning to the way we used to do things,” he said.

Potandon Produce plans colorful spud unveiling

Potandon Produce LLC,, Idaho Falls, Idaho, will bring new colorful potato varieties to unveil at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit on Oct. 15-18 in Orlando, Fla., said David Wheeler, new product and marketing manager.

Represented in early growing area in the U.S. and Canada, Potandon is the largest North American fresh potato
supplier, Wheeler said.

The big picture is not selling a commodity but a meal solution, he said.

Ralph Schwartz, director of value-added marketing and category management for Potandon, said growing demand in what has been for 10 years a declining potato category means drawing consumers to new varieties that offer color and taste and value-added potatoes that offer convenience.

He said that represents a shift toward consumer based marketing.

The firm, which accounts for about 40,000 acres in Idaho, is promoting its offering to consumers at

South Wind Farms offers fingerling variety

The fingerling potato crop looks to be high quality this year at South Wind Farms, Rupert, Idaho, said Jerry Tominaga, president.

The company exclusively grows fingerling varieties in south central Idaho. As a state, Idaho may grow about 3,000 acres of fingerling varieties, he said.

A fingerling is a long, narrow potato. The firm grows Russian bananas, French fingerling, ruby crescent, ozette and other fingerling varieties.

Harvest begins the first of August and was expected to be done by Oct. 10.

“We’re hoping to supply into June and source from other areas when we run out,” he said.

The firm features a retail bag of a pound and a half that is packed in a 12-count master carton.
The firm also offers 10-pound, 20-pound and 50-pound box and 2,000 pound totes.

New label is on the way for Sun-Glo of Idaho

Sun-Glo of Idaho Inc., Sugar City, Idaho, plans to unveil a new label for its potatoes this fall, said Bruce Crapo, owner and chief financial officer for the company.

Wada Farms
The redesigned line of Microwave in Bag red and gold potatoes provide clear messaging to consumers, said Bob Meek, chief executive officer of Wada Farms Marketing Group LLC, Idaho Falls, Idaho.

The 1-pound microwaveable steam bag features large letters of Microwave in Bag! on either red or yellow bags.
“Most people take just 5 to 10 seconds to reach down and grab an item, and the Microwave in Bag message is straightforward and hard to confuse what it is,” he said.

Wada Farms also is featuring a new logo that it plans to introduce first at the consumer level and then to all uses of the company logo.

The logo has a red field with Wada Farms in white, with a green leaf in the middle of the logo, emphasizing the company’s work on sustainability.

By National Editor Tom Karst