Staying Ahead of the Game

For successful new product innovation, start with potatoes

Published online: Sep 07, 2018 Articles Jill Rittenberg, Global Marketing Manager, Potatoes USA
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This article appears in the September 2018 issue of Potato Grower.

As the new product landscape continues to change, the one thing that remains the same is the food industry’s love for potatoes. According to Innova Research, potatoes were included in 7 percent of all new product introductions in 2017. In fact, overall new product introductions declined 7.6 percent in 2017, but the number of new products containing potatoes increased 17.2 percent.

When it comes to potato product introductions, ready meals were the top category, accounting for a 25 percent share of the new potato product launches. As consumers become increasingly busy, the demand for healthy prepared foods has grown. People have gone from buying ingredients to make foods, to buying food products that require less time and preparation. As a result, convenient products that reduce cooking time and facilitate healthy snacking and flavor innovation are powering the category.

As our population continues to diversify, the types of foods and flavors in the deli or grocerant section is growing too. It’s no longer just fried chicken and mashed potatoes; we’re seeing more globally flavored food offerings that meet consumers’ changing tastes and palates. Americans are delving deeper than ever before into flavors from around the globe. The ethnic aisle is no longer wide enough to contain the growing number of bold, globally inspired simmer sauces, hot sauces, spice blends and ready-to-eat meal options available to consumers craving something new. Supermarket foodservice operations are adding distinguished ethnic cuisines to stand out from the competition. Hearty ingredients, including potatoes, legumes and poultry are excellent carriers for these products.

Considering the convenience, variety and ethnic tastes consumers are looking for, potatoes are the perfect blank canvas for new products. Through the ingredient program at Potatoes USA, we continually tout this message as we work to drive awareness and education about how great potatoes are as ingredients and continue to inspire new potato product innovation.