A Good Month for Potatoes

Creating More Buzz in the Mainstream Media

Published in the August 2013 Issue Published online: Aug 04, 2013 Meredith Myers, USPB Public Relations Manager
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If you haven't heard already, the month of May was a great month for potatoes in the nutrition research world, and rest assured, the United States Potato Board (USPB) has taken great strides to ensure everyone is completely aware of it.

On May 17, the Alliance for Potato Research and Education (APRE) announced its scientific supplement, titled "White Vegetables: A Forgotten Source of Nutrients," was published in Advances in Nutrition. Complete with 10 papers, written by leading nutrition scientists, "White Vegetables: A Forgotten Source of Nutrients" is the outcome of the Purdue Scientific Roundtable that APRE conducted and supported a year ago. The APRE press release, distributed on Eureka! Alert (science news wire), has generated outstanding online media attention, including a post written by registered dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix on the USA Today Blog.

The USPB PR team worked together with APRE to create more buzz in the mainstream media, expanding the impact of this research for the industry. We posted a consumer press release, "White Vegetables Redeemed" (available on www.potatogoodness.com) on PR Newswire. More than 345 online news outlets have picked up the story for 24.4 million impressions! We also combined the research news with our current grilling campaign, and "celebrity RDs" used these talking points in a six-city broadcast grilling segment. We saw our first televised segment in San Antonio. Trust me-it's worth the time to watch!

The second wave of news came just a week later. Research by Dr. Adam Drewnowski and colleagues from the University of Washington, funded by the USPB, was published in the online scientific journal, PLOS ONE. Titled "Vegetable Cost Metrics Show That Potatoes and Beans Provide Most Nutrients Per Penny," this study shows potatoes are one of the best nutritional values in the produce aisle, providing one of the better nutritional values per penny than most other raw vegetables and delivering one of the most affordable source of potassium of the more frequently consumed vegetables, second only to beans.

This news was released on both the Eureka! Alert wire service, as well as PR Newswire. In addition a news release was issued on the Radio Health Journal. Even before the Radio news release, there we had seen 271 online placements for 23.5 million impressions, including two stories in the Miami Herald and coverage on Examiner.com, SHAPE (Keri Gans) and Global Food Mate.

Dr. Drewnowski says:"The ability to identify affordable, nutrient-dense vegetables is important to families focused on stretching their food dollar as well as food programs such as the school lunch program and WIC. When it comes to affordable nutrition, it's hard to beat potatoes."

Here is a collection of solid, consumer-facing messages that resulted from this research and you can use in your own communications with customers:

 Think all white foods are bad for you? Think again! There are a lot of misperceptions about potatoes out there, but the truth is-potatoes are good for you. White vegetables, especially potatoes, are just as important as their colorful cousins in supporting a healthy, well-balanced diet.

 Penny for penny, potatoes and beans provide the most nutrients of all vegetables in the produce section.

 Potatoes are a good source of potassium, which the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines has listed as a shortfall nutrient in the American diet. Potatoes are also often the gateway to other vegetables for kids and adults, so they in turn, increase overall consumption of vegetables. In addition, one medium-size, skin-on potato is just 110 calories, has no fat, sodium or cholesterol, provides 45 percent of your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana.

 Improvements in cooking oils, coatings, preparation methods and processing technologies are enhancing the nutritional profile of the white potato in all forms, making an already healthy package even healthier.

Press releases and online links to both studies are available at www.potatogoodness.com