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July / August 2005

July / August 2005
  • Grand Champion Growers In Mars Hill, Maine, a potato-growing family has been named Grand Champion Growers; while raising only 300 acres. Bryan Bell, of Bell Brothers, has no plans to expand the farming operation. He said they want to continue raising good quality potatoes rather than increasing the quantity.
  • Repackaging Potatoes Connecting with consumers means marketing potatoes in a way that will stimulate new purchases. Industry leaders agree that adopting this simple strategy is vital to increasing demand and, in turn, profits for potato producers.
  • The Medium is the Message
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Maine potato growers enjoy being among the best of the best

In Mars Hill, Maine, a potato-growing family has been named Grand Champion Growers – while raising only 300 acres. Bryan Bell, of Bell Brothers, has no plans to expand the farming operation. He said they want to continue raising good quality potatoes rather than increasing the quantity. “We go by the theory of how few potatoes we can make a living from – not how many we can grow,” he said. The approach has paid off. They said they are happy to be where they are. “If the price is good, we will make enough off the 300 acres,” Bryan said. “If the price is poor, we’ll be glad we hadn’t planted more.” Out of the 20 years they have been selling Russets to the french fry processor McCain Foods, their potato quality has placed them in the top 10 for 17 of those years. For eight of…  » Read more

Industry looks at packaging innovations

Connecting with consumers means marketing potatoes in a way that will stimulate new purchases. Industry leaders agree that adopting this simple strategy is vital to increasing demand and, in turn, profits for potato producers. “Introducing new products is not without risk,” said Tim O’Connor, president and CEO of the U.S. Potato Board (USPB). “However, it has the greatest upside potential for profit and to recapture market share. We have invested five years building a library of information to arm the industry with cutting-edge research and analysis that demystifies the consumer and the changing marketplace. This information greatly reduces the risk involved in innovation.” Farm Fresh Direct, located in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, is one company using USPB information to market new products. It pioneered the individually wrapped microwavable potato with its Express Bake PotatOH!, a double-washed russet sealed in SavorSeal film. The 2000 USPB consumer…  » Read more

The Medium is the Message

In journalism school, we learned about Marshall McLuhan – a Canadian writer and communications theorist. McLuhan taught that “the medium is the message.” How the message is conveyed is just as important as the message. The form chosen for the message also will affect how that message is perceived. So, as we talk about packaging and industry innovations this month, I’m excited to say that the medium – the packaging – is helping to spread a wonderful message about potatoes. In this case, the packaging is the potato. Microwavable packaging and recipes and single-serve and gourmet packages are showing consumers that the potato industry is trying to step out of the commodity realm and into the high-value, high-excitement world of convenience. As consumers see these messages, they see that potatoes aren’t just the staple of a meat-and-potatoes diet, long forgotten. Instead, these new packages show what many…  » Read more
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