EAGLE, Idaho — The Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) is growing its programs involving food bloggers this season, said Don Odiorne, vice president of foodservice and web for the organization.
Odiorne said a web page IPC started last summer featuring Idaho potato recipes, photographs and stories by food bloggers, linked to www.idahopotato.com, now has nearly 100 submissions.
IPC pays its bloggers $500 for each recipe package, retaining ownership of the content for its own promotions but allowing bloggers to continue using their original recipes for their own purposes. Odiorne said IPC, which spent $10,000 to $12,000 on the popular blogger recipe page last year, will increase its investment to $20,000 to $30,000 this season.
IPC links to bloggers’ websites to help them increase reader traffic. In turn, they alert their own followers that they’re sponsored by IPC and have content on the IPC page.
“It’s supplemented our website, but it has also done something really great,” Odiorne said. “I think a blogger who is trying to feed a family in healthy and nutritious ways quite often is trying to do it with that from-scratch cooking that has gone away. Rather than buying something pre-made, why not do it with potatoes and do it from scratch?”
IPC is concluding a side dish contest featuring recipes from the blogger page, awarding funding to the winning blogger’s local Meals on Wheels program.
In January, IPC began featuring a blogger of the month. Rather than singling out a blogger for March, IPC is highlighting Idaho Potato Palooza, which was hosted at the Los Angeles home of blogger Erika Kerekes in February in conjunction with Potato Lovers Month. Kerekes invited about 40 food bloggers.
She and blogger Judy Lyness created 10 original potato recipes, now featured on the IPC’s blogger page, such as Idaho potato blintzes and Idaho fingerling cups filled with smoked salmon mousse.
Kerekes said she’s gained credibility with other players in the food industry through her partnership with the IPC, and the project has helped her think more creatively about an ingredient she’d taken for granted.
“(Odiorne) has been one of the foremost people in the food business really working aggressively to develop relationships with bloggers,” said Kerekes, who heads a bloggers’ network called Food Bloggers Los Angeles.
In April, the IPC will post a series of videos by blogger Coryanne Ettiene, featuring the chef preparing potato dishes with her 5-year-old son Xander and her 10-year-old daughter Margeaux. Ettiene, who has her own film production company focusing on content involving fresh produce, said IPC aims to highlight the importance of involving children in the culinary process.
“I’m a big fan of children in the kitchen,” said Ettiene, who reaches about 100,000 social media followers. “This is the time for us to talk about their day in a fun environment.”
Odiorne acknowledged other entities, such as National Beef Council, have bigger online budgets and can work with bloggers who are already household names.
“I would rather find somebody under a rock or somebody I think is going to become a superstar,” Odiorne said.
Source: Capital Press