Walmart to Begin Testing Skinny Potatoes

Published online: May 24, 2017 Articles David Mitchell
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A small product is about to get a potentially giant boost.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.—the largest retailer in the U.S.—is expected to begin testing the Skinny Potato this month, says Scott McDulin, vice president of Schmieding Produce Co. in Springdale, Ark.

“I talked to [Walmart’s] category manager two weeks ago, and he loved the idea,” says McDulin, who added that the test will be in Walmart stores served by the retailer’s Dallas distribution center.

The idea behind the Skinny Potato is a response to the fact that some consumers have shied away from russet potatoes while trying to cut carbs. McDulin says most russets packed in 5-pound bags are 5 to 9 ounces each. The 100-calorie Skinny Potato offers smaller portions, with 4- to 6-ounce potatoes.

Schmieding introduced the product, packed in 3-pound bags, in January at a time when many consumers were starting New Year’s diets.

Although the timing seemed right for consumers, McDulin acknowledges that it wasn’t for many retailers, who already had set their planograms set for the winter. McDulin says another Arkansas-based retailer—Harps Food Stores Inc., Springdale, Ark.—already has had success with the new product, and a Walmart test could be a big step for the product.

Russet sales have been declining for years, McDulin says, but they still represent 53 percent of the total potato category. Little potatoes, convenience items and other specialty items are growing, but they still represent a small fraction of sales. The best way to grow the potato category overall, McDulin says, is to stabilize russet sales.

 

Source: The Packer