Industry Told To Go After 'The Dinks'

Published online: Dec 09, 2004
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Growers attending today's Potato Summit in Colorado Springs, CO, were told to go after the "dinks"--double-income-no-kids market--for potato sales.

John Toaspern of the US Potato Board told the 350-400 in attendance at the Broadmoor Hotel event that the industry is picking up the young (with fries) and the older generation with fresh potatoes but is missing a big middle segment.

The Summit, arranged to precede this year's National Potato Council and Colorado grower-hosted Seed Seminar, will continue Friday and Saturday.

Mac Johnson, also of the Board, explained that the industry has to follow the demographics that are being seen, smaller families and more singles. He said the five- and 10-pound retail packs should be down sized.

The group was told that dehy sales have remained relatively flat since they were a big hit in the 1940s and 1950s. They have a market share of only 2.5 percent.

Bruce Huffaker, publisher of the North American Potato Market News, said it should be a good price year for potato sales. He says prices respond to supply and the nation is down 1.7 percent in production.

Huffaker said this year's crop is the smallest since 1997. He added, however, that Idaho is up 3.5 percent in production, although fewer acres were planted but the crop was outstanding.

Robert Shear of Shear Foods told the group that people still enjoy eating fries. He says men order hambergers first, but fries are No. 2 in their selection. He said women are the other way around, they order fries first.

He says there is a great market for snack foods but most people know they must eat healthy, in moderation.

Speaking of the chip industry, the group was told that chips are the No. 1 favorite snack food. There has been an increase in sales of 1.7 percent. He said American like to snack. The No. 2 most popular snack was pop corn.