Published online: Apr 17, 2011 Potato Storage
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Packaged Facts projects sales of frozen convenience foods will grow at a rate of 2.8 percent annually over the next several years-to top $18.6 billion by 2015. Much of this growth will come from a renewed emphasis on upscale and "better-for-you" entrees catering to the needs of time-crunched families.

The USPB is holding an invitation-only Product Developers' Forum at the Culinary Institute of America, April 18-19 to address the issue of why more potatoes aren't being featured in contemporary frozen meals. The major potato processors and seven of the most influential frozen food manufacturers, including ConAgra Foods, Heinz and NestlĂ© USA, will attend the Forum, which is focused exclusively on exploring new frozen meal options with U.S. potatoes.

Highlights of the Forum will include innovative consumer-tested frozen meal concepts, the latest consumer research showing the growing popularity of potatoes, evolving culinary trends and new processed and fresh potato products.

According to Kathleen Triou, USPB Vice President, Domestic Marketing, "Our research shows consumers' attitudes toward potatoes are very positive. Over 90 percent agree potatoes are highly satisfying and can be part of a healthy meal, and 80 percent wish there were more frozen entrees with potatoes. The goal of the Product Developers' Forum is to drive new product development with potatoes by sharing these compelling findings."

The USPB is consolidating the frozen food manufacturer and consumer research into an online site especially for frozen food manufacturers. It will launch this month and feature highlights from the Forum; the consumer-tested frozen meal concepts; and information about the various frozen and dehydrated potato products available to food manufacturers.

The site will also list the many potato industry resources that food technologists can tap into for products and information.