Paul Morris, Quincy, Wash.

Market Report

Green Giant Fresh Whole Baby Potatoes in Sauce
 

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Potatoes at Fresh Summit

The most-consumed vegetable in the United States has found ways to remain relevant at the country’s largest produce trade show.

Last week’s Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit in Anaheim, Calif., was used to introduce some innovative potato products. The produce trade show set a record of more than 19,000 attendees, many representing large grocery chains and supermarkets – the decision makers for buying fresh produce.

Wada Farms, Potandon Produce/Green Giant Fresh and Cavendish Farms all had new potato lines packed in microwaveable bags. There was a lot of activity around those booths, and retailers seemed enthusiastic about providing customers with new, convenient potato products – that offer a premium product and a price premium.

Fresh potato producers and associations also were at Fresh Summit, and they all reported a good show. There was a lot of interest in fingerling and baby potatoes, especially colored ones. One of the breakfast sessions even featured mixed fingerling and baby potatoes with spinach quiche and other fresh fruits and vegetables.

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Paul Morris
Quincy, Wash.

 

Market Report

U.S. potato production decreased in 2008, but prices increased.

Total U.S. potato production was set at 415 million cwt. by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. That was a 1 percent increase from previous USDA estimates and 7 percent below the 2007 crop.

Fall potato production was down 7 percent from 2007 last year at 379 million cwt., and harvested acres at 922,000 acres also was down 7 percent. Yields in 2008 set a record of 411 cwt. per acre, beating the previous record of 410 cwt. per acre set in 2007.

The value of the 2008 crop was nearly $3.5 billion, a 13 percent increase over 2007. The average price of $8.42 per cwt. was nearly $1 per cwt. more than the previous season.

Processors used fewer potatoes in 2008 from 2007 and seed sales also were down, although USDA reported growers kept 11 percent more for use as seed.

Calls for acreage restrictions weren’t heeded as closely for the 2009 crop, and overall acreage is expected to up from 2008. Total planted acreage is forecast at almost 933,000 acres and harvested acres are expected to be up slightly as well. Idaho planted about 5 percent more acres, but Washington was down about 6 percent. North Dakota and Colorado planted 2 percent fewer acres, but Michigan will be up about 5 percent and Oregon will be up about 2 percent, according to USDA.

 

Green Giant Fresh Whole Baby Potatoes in Sauce

PICTUREGreen Giant Fresh introduced a new line of steam-in-the-bag potatoes at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in Anaheim, Calif., last week. Potandon Produce produces the new line under the Green Giant Fresh brand.

The line features Idaho-grown baby potatoes in four packs: Red-Skin/Yellow-Flesh Potatoes in Four Cheese Sauce; Red-Skin/Yellow-Flesh Potatoes in Roasted Garlic Butter; Yellow-Skin/Yellow-Flesh Potatoes with Mesquite Smoked Bacon; and Yellow-Skin/Yellow-Flesh Potatoes in Three Chile Sauce.

The products are ready to eat in four minutes and require no washing, mixing or puncturing.