Published online: Mar 14, 2011 Potato Storage, Seed Potatoes
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.-At the United States Potato Board Annual Meeting, held at The Broadmoor Hotel last week, USPB CEO Tim O'Conner made some exciting news: as of January 2011, potatoes are back to pre-Atkins levels in the public eye.

"Potatoes are back, baby!" O'Conner proudly announced, resulting in board members erupting into cheers.

Consumer attitudes and actual consumption reveal the United States Potato Board's long-term demand-building efforts have taken hold, and consumers have responded to the positive nutrition messages championed by the USPB and the rest of the U.S. potato industry.

The day before the 2012-2016 Long Range Plan was voted on by the board, O'Conner gave remarks on what the USPB has accomplished over the past five years. According to him, there's plenty to be optimistic about.

O'Conner explained that, first, net negative scores dropped dramatically in January to the level it was before the industry took a blow in 2004 by the Atkins diet craze, where carbohydrates are to be avoided. Second, per capita consumption increased, and third, exports have grown.

O'Conner summarized the three major items in other words: the USPB has changed consumer attitudes, consumer behavior and exports over the past five years.

"I'm pretty excited this morning," he said.