USPB Marketing in U.S., Abroad

Trade mission, Asia trade show part of outreach

Published in the February 2009 Issue Published online: Feb 28, 2009
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Here are two examples of how the United States Potato Board continues to market U.S. potatoes internationally. The first is about a trade mission to the United States by international delegates. It dealt with chip-stock options. The second demonstrates how dehy is making an impression in Asia.


International delegates visit U.S.

To continue building relationships with current U.S. chip-stock potato buyers and to educate potential U.S. chip-stock potato buyers about U.S. potatoes and their quality, the United States Potato Board hosted its third chip-stock Reverse Trade Mission (RTM).

Fifteen representatives from major snack manufacturing companies in Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, China and the Philippines traveled to Klamath Falls, Ore., and Bakersfield and Los Angeles, Calif., to learn about chipping potato production, storage and shipping.

The group first toured the Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center to learn about the potato selection and breeding process to see how chipping potatoes are developed.

This was followed by a visit to Baley Trotman Farms where information about chipping potato fry color, sugars and specific gravity was presented.

Several U.S. chip-stock potato varieties, obtained from the Research and Extension Center, were fried to demonstrate the different colors and to show how some colored varieties performed.

The foreign manufacturers were impressed with these because they fried with vibrant color.

University of Minnesota/North Dakota State University Area Extension agent emeritus, Duane Preston gave a presentation on U.S. chipping varieties and how they are developed and tested in variety trials.


The group then visited Gold Dust Potato Processors

"We toured the washing and fresh packing facility at Gold Dust Potato Processors," said Sarah Mahler, USPB International Marketing manager, chip-stock. "This provided the group with some much-needed insight to see how well potatoes are handled and washed before packing into totes or loading bulk containers."

The RTM then traveled to Bakersfield, Calif., and visited Kirschenmann Farms to see their planted fields and to dig several different chipping varieties. The group also visited their facilities where chipping varieties and seed potatoes are stored.

This visit showed the international participants the diverse growing regions of the United States and demonstrated how the U.S. industry is able to supply potatoes year round.


During the last day of the RTM, a chipping symposium was held with the international participants, U.S. growers and industry experts.

Presentations were made by the USPB on each of the target markets for U.S. chip-stock, and each of the participating international chip processors presented information about their companies and their requirements for chipping potatoes.

The second half of the seminar included presentations about maintaining U.S. potato quality, U.S. chip-stock supply and demand, contracting and information about how the USPB can help international manufacturers and U.S. growers.

"Overall, the chip-stock RTM was a success," Mahler said. "We helped continue to build relationships with current U.S. chip-stock potato buyers and helped educate potential U.S. chip-stock potato buyers about U.S. potatoes and their quality. The chip-stock RTM combined with the other chip-stock program activities will help create new buyers for U.S. chipping potatoes."


Recipes, developed food item, processors part of event

The United States Potato Board's Dehydrated Potato Program attracted a record number of interested attendees at the 2008 Food Ingredients Asia Trade Show late last year.

The USPB participated in this event where international ingredient manufacturers, importers and distributors gathered to exhibit their food ingredients and products to potential customers sourcing ingredients for bakeries, restaurants, snacks, confectioneries or other food products they manufacture.

This tradeshow also attracts international importers and distributors seeking to represent ingredient manufacturers in their home countries or regions.

The USPB's booth was prominently themed with materials and elements supporting the "International Year of the Potato."

Each day, the booth showcased 13 different recipes developed in USPB target markets of Mexico, Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.

In addition, Au Bon Pain's Whole Wheat Bagel, a food item developed as a result of the company learning about dehy at the 2007 Food Ingredients Asia Trade Show, and with USPB technical assistance, was part of the international showcase representing Thailand.

Visitors also received recipes and U.S. dehy information and materials.

Two U.S. dehy processors, Idaho Pacific and Idahoan Foods, also attended this trade show and were available to make sales, answer questions and receive contact information.

Two-hundred and fourteen visitors from 186 companies and 17 countries visited the USPB's booth. There were also 24 importers seeking information to distribute U.S. dehy products for bakeries, restaurants, supermarkets, food and snack manufacturers in their markets.