For over 20 years, the Idaho Potato Commission has recognized February as Potato Lovers' Month. Our increasingly popular retail promotion and consumer public relations programs have helped drive sales for potatoes and in many cases, entire produce departments during what is typically the slowest month of the year.
This year we've got an additional reason to celebrate in February. It's National Heart Health month. The American Heart Association (AHA) has recently certified that fresh Idaho potatoes meet its criteria for saturated fat and cholesterol. This certification as a heart-healthy food represents a significant milestone for Idaho potatoes as well an industry that has been hit hard by the low-carbohydrate diet fad.
The AHA is one of the most recognized and well-respected health organizations in the country. In fact, 73 percent of primary shoppers trust the AHA more than any other organization to certify food products. The heart-check mark assures shoppers they are making a smart and heart-healthy purchasing choice.
The IPC has made great strides to communicate this important certification to millions of health-conscious consumers through several different vehicles:
National Advertising Campaign: The IPC launched a new television commercial this fall that stars its longtime spokesperson and America's favorite fitness guru, Denise Austin. Filmed in picturesque eastern Idaho, Denise announces the AHA certification. The commercial is airing nationally on cable stations and on major networks in select markets around the country. You can also view it on our website: www.idahopotato.com.
Walmart Bags of Idaho Potatoes: Understanding the significance of the AHA certification, Walmart mandated that all bags of Idaho potatoes sold in their retail outlets must have the AHA heart-check mark printed on them. Several other Idaho shippers who don't ship for Walmart have also added this well-recognized symbol to their bags.
"Great Big Idaho Potato Truck:" In recognition of the IPC's 75th anniversary, we "cultivated" the largest potato on wheels. The six-ton tater will travel across the country in 2012 reminding consumers to always look for the famous "Grown in Idaho" seal when they purchase potatoes. In addition to the seal, the Truck is sporting the AHA's well-respected and recognized heart-check mark.
www.idahopotato.com: A special section has been added to the IPC's website that explains the importance of the AHA certification. We've included recipes that are heart-healthy as well as easy tips to help consumers keep their heart as healthy as possible.
Public Relations: The AHA heart check mark has become a prominent and permanent symbol in all our communication to the press.
Satellite Media Tour Denise Austin further recognized the AHA heart-check mark during a 40-city satellite media tour that she conducted in early February. She energetically engaged each news anchor by asking them to join her in a few stretches and then jumped into describing her favorite heart-healthy Idaho potato dishes.
We are very proud that Idaho potatoes are certified by the AHA and we plan to let as many people know as possible! We as an industry have always known how healthy potatoes are and we're glad that others are starting to recognize it, too.