Board Assesses Markets, Reveals Plans

Published online: Jul 08, 2003
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United States Potato Board, in an effort to help slumping sales in domestic and export french fry markets, issued a three-point plan to growers.

In a multi-page fax sent to members of the Board and other potato growing and marketing entities, Ann Vorthman, manager of Industry Outreach, explained the reasons for the downturn in fry sales.

Good news, however, is the Board has a plan of attack. Vorthman says the key to remaining competitive is to identify and develop growing markets and respond to consumer needs with new product development.

She also says the Board will use the growers' and importers' two-cent check-off per cwt to try to bolster domestic sales which have been in a downturn for the last two years. The first downturn in the export french fry market were seen last year.

New concepts include increasing non-fried or healthier fried offerings in foodservice outlets that will spark consumer interest. Also, capitalizing on opportunities that have been identified in the established Casual restaurant category, as well as the growing Fast Casual category.

Work with food manufacturers to develop new potato meal options. Then, continue existing efforts in domestic and international programs that communicate the bottom-line profitability of purchasing the highest-quality USDA Grade-A, Extra-Long Fancy fries [which take significantly less frying oil] directly to decision makers at foodservice headquarters. This will also include continuing an export program to develop emerging fry markets in China and Mexico.