PINGREE, Idaho-Officials at Wada Farms estimate they shipped 500 cardboard bins, each filled with 1,000 pounds of bagged jumbo-sized spuds, during the first week of April for an Idaho Potato Commission promotion.
Chris Wada, director of marketing for Wada Farms Marketing Group, believes IPC's second jumbo bin promotion of the year, which started April 1, has already stabilized prices of spuds over 9 ounces, which are abundant in the 2012 crop.
IPC is reimbursing participating retailers $10 for every 1,000-pound bin purchased featuring 8-pound bags or larger. Potatoes must be at least 9 ounces, and bins must be shipped during April to be eligible.
Bins from Wada's eastern Idaho fresh packing facility are filled with 15-pound jumbo bags.
"It's definitely made (supplies) tighter from a packing shed's perspective," Wada said. "It's firmed prices."
According to the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, 50-pound cartons of fresh Idaho potatoes, which include the baker sizes targeted by the bin promotion, have risen 50 cents to $1 during the past few weeks. The price quoted April 11 for 90-count cartons, containing 9-ounce spuds, was $6-$8, mostly $6.50-$7. During the same timeframe, prices declined 50 cents to $1 for 5-pound and 10-pound consumer bags containing potatoes in the 5-ounce range, with 10-pound film bags quoted at $2.50-$3.50, mostly $3-$3.50.
SOURCE: John O'Connell, Capital Press