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Call for Convenience

I had the chance to tour the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit International Trade Show and Exposition in October to see the fresh produce suppliers and the many value-added products.

Even with a down economy, produce marketers were displaying new products in the value added segment, and that included potato products. Wada Farms, Potandon Produce and Cavendish Farms were just a few of the companies showing off potatoes in microwaveable steamer bags. They didn’t just pack small potatoes in bags, either. They included flavoring to provide a full range of items for retail shoppers that are quick, convenient and healthful – at a reasonable price point for consumers and profitable price point for grower/shippers.

There’s no question that American consumers are increasingly short on time and the younger generations aren’t knowledgeable about cooking fresh potatoes. So value-added potato products offer a solution to their time crunch or cooking inexperience.

Value-added packages also come in smaller quantities, which is appealing to consumers that don’t want to waste food. Shoppers may not necessarily be “trading down” at the grocery store, but they do want to make sure the food they buy isn’t thrown away, Linda Cox with the Hartman Group told a full educational session at Fresh Summit.

The call for more convenience can be heard in the publishing business as well. We here at Spudman want to be able to provide the latest and best information to our readers in ways that are convenient and accessible. To reach that end, we’re changing a few things at the magazine. Idaho Editor Bill Schaefer will be stepping in as the managing editor of the print edition of Spudman. I will be handling the digital side of the magazine in the new role of interactive manager.

This change will allow Spudman to provide breaking news online, educational offerings through Webinars and archived articles and interactivity through social media like Facebook and Twitter (follow Spudman on Twitter at SpudmanMag).

You’ll hear from Bill in the Taking Stock column beginning in January. If you’d like to welcome him to the team or offer story ideas, he can be reached at bills@spudman.com. For product news and story ideas, I can still be reached at news@spudman.com.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working on the print edition of Spudman, and I look forward to taking the magazine even further into the digital age in the coming months.

Originally posted Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009

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