Karen Bonaudi, Washington State Potato Commission

Market Report

Simplot To Hell With Prep

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Looking Ahead

The season is finally winding down after some stressful events from the West to the Northeast. USDA is projecting an increase in potato production this season, despite losses early in the year from weather in some regions and conditions this fall that left many acres unharvested in other regions.

Planning for next season will start in earnest soon, and growers should be aware of acreage recommendations, prices and seed availability. United Potato Growers of America is recommending fewer acres to maintain profitability for growers. The Top 20 seed varieties by acreage planted continued the trends seen over the last few years toward newer varieties (see the story in the November/December print issue), so knowing your customers’ needs is more important than ever.

If you’re not already planning on attending Potato Expo in Orlando, you should be. Spudman will be there and you’ll have the chance to get a “Proud to be a Spudman” cap as well as a chance to meet the editorial staff of the magazine.


Karen Bonaudi
Washington State Potato Commission

Karen Bonaudi, assistant executive director for the Washington State Potato Commission, sat down with Spudman's Idaho editor William Schaefer to talk about the new promotions from the commission.


Market Report

United Potato Growers of America board of directors recommends that growers should plant only 70 percent to 75 percent of their 2004 acreage in 2010.

The board recognized that growers held acreage this year close to 2008 levels. Last fall, United leaders accurately predicted the 2009 acreage level would bring shipments to the highest level since United was founded in 2004.

“The recommended 25 to 30 percent acreage reduction on the 2004 base year should help make supplies more manageable for the industry to achieve a balance of sustainable returns without attracting additional production,” said Allen Floyd, United chairman. “Growers should avoid making commitments for fertilizer or fumigant which will limit their ability to manage the potato supply to match actual demand.”

Growers in Kern County, Calif., and Texas are advised to pay attention to the supply and shipping forecasts over the next couple of months to determine the amount of storage crop that will carry into the traditional out-of-field shipping season. Growers shipping out of the field in northern and other regions may need to reduce their 2010 acreage beyond the recommended cut depending on the carry-over forecasts that are updated throughout the season.

The United 2010 acreage recommendation applies to non-specialty potatoes, including red potatoes. The United Red Potato Committee will discuss a 2010 acreage guideline specific to specialty potatoes on its upcoming conference call. Dale Lathim, Potato Marketing Association of North America president, will communicate to process growers the importance of planting to contracted levels only.


Simplot To Hell With Prep

Simplot Food Group launched a new Web site at the beginning of the month – http://www.ToHellWithPrep.com – to give foodservice operators the frightening truth about the costs of prep time and how Simplot RoastWorks recipe items can reduce costs.

Simplot`s RoastWorks brand - around which the new Web site and the accompanying "To Hell With Prep" trade-advertising campaign revolves - makes a lot of prep work unnecessary.

The main feature at ToHellWithPrep.com is the cost-savings calculator in the "Wages of Sin" section, which lets foodservice operators compare the cost of using RoastWorks products to preparing comparable ingredients or sides from scratch.

The site also provides a continually growing recipe collection called "Divine Inspiration" created by Simplot executive chefs Mark Hill and Dianna Fricke.

Later this month foodservice operators and employees can enter a sweepstakes promotion at ToHellWithPrep.com for a chance to win a weekend trip for two to Hell`s Kitchen, N.Y. The prize package includes airfare for two, two night`s lodging in a Manhattan hotel, dinner at Hell`s Kitchen restaurant and a gift card for expenses.

In addition, ToHellWithPrep.com serves up a humorous video that riffs common problems associated with prep work, a list of the five reasons "prep is hell," and a section called "Hell's Angels" that provides detailed information and specifications on the 20 different RoastWorks offerings.

Foodservice operators new to the brand will enjoy the site`s great first-timer`s discount, too. If they complete the form in the "Trial by Fire" section, Simplot will send them a coupon with a graduated price-reduction offer: Buy up to five cases of RoastWorks products and get $3 off per case, buy up to 10 cases and get $5 off per case, or buy more than 10 cases and get $7 off per case.

Pre-roasted, perfectly seasoned, and individually quick-frozen, Simplot RoastWorks vegetables and fruit are designed specifically for foodservice operators as exceptional-quality alternatives to scratch-made ingredients and sides. Chief among the RoastWorks brand`s 20 different vegetables, potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruits and blends are Roasted Baby Bakers and Rosemary Roasted Redskins.