IPC to the Rescue

Helping consumers understand the health benefits of potatoes

Published in the February 2014 Issue Published online: Feb 20, 2014 Frank Muir, IPC President and CEO
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Promoting the nutritional profile of Idaho potatoes is a year-long initiative for the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC). But in February, because it’s National Potato Lovers Month and National Heart Month, we like to turn up the volume a bit and remind consumers in big ways that Idaho potatoes are heart-healthy.

 

Russet Recipe Rescue

In the fall, the IPC launched Russet Recipe Rescue to help potato lovers lighten up their favorite Idaho potato recipes and win supermarket gift cards and fresh Idaho potatoes. Hundreds of participants submitted their favorite family dishes, and with the help of a registered dietitian we selected five that needed to be rescued the most. By making easy ingredient substitutions, the calorie, fat and sodium content of these recipes were significantly reduced without sacrificing any flavor. The before and after recipes, along with general tips for optimizing nutrition and flavor, were recently distributed to the press and through the IPC’s social media outlets.

Denise Austin Satellite Media Tour

For close to 10 years Denise Austin has helped the IPC promote the health benefits of eating Idaho potatoes. This month, Denise will hit the airwaves again and participate in a 30-city satellite media tour. From a studio in Washington, D.C., Denise will conduct television and radio interviews live via satellite, reveal her favorite Idaho potato recipes and explain the importance of including carbohydrate-rich foods in your diet.

 

Consumer Resource

At the IPC, we are on an ongoing quest to educate consumers about the nutritional benefits of Idaho potatoes. The nutrition section on idahopotato.com has become the “go to” for consumers looking for ways to incorporate Idaho potatoes into their diets. The section offers:

• Nutrition Facts: A 5.3-ounce Idaho potato provides 110 calories, 45 percent of the daily value of vitamin C, two grams of fiber and no fat, cholesterol or sodium.

• Comparison Chart: An easy-to-reach chart pits a medium-sized potato against a banana and an apple. Guess who wins when it comes to potassium and vitamin C? You got it, the potato!

• Gluten-free Recipes: As the gluten-free industry tops $4.2 billion, we want to remind consumers that potatoes are naturally gluten-free. We created a special section on the website that offers a selection of gluten-free recipes.

• Heart-healthy Recipes: We all know that potatoes are naturally healthy, but not always prepared healthfully. A selection of recipes that have been certified as heart-healthy by the American Heart Association are available in the IPC’s robust recipe database.

 

One of our greatest assets in promoting the heart healthfulness of Idaho potatoes is certification by the American Heart Association. The well-recognized checkmark is visible on our website, in our communication to the press, on the Great Big Idaho Potato Truck and on many bags of potatoes you find in the grocery store.

I look back with great pride and pleasure to see how people’s perceptions of potatoes have improved over the last few years. But by no means does this indicate our job is done. Very easily and quickly another fad diet can surface and dampen the reputation of the potato all over again. That’s why now is the time to educate consumers so that when the next diet plan emerges, they have knowledge to make informed decisions about which foods are needed for a healthy, balanced diet. 

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