Global Expansion

Worldwide demand grows for Idaho Potatoes

Published in the March 2012 Issue Published online: Mar 05, 2012 Frank Muir, IPC President and CEO
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2012 MIDA Trade Show in Puerto RicoFrom Houston to Hong Kong and Honduras, the world-famous Idaho potato is now available to millions of consumers around the globe, thanks to the Idaho Potato Commission's (IPC) international department. Since its inception in 2003, Idaho potato exports have expanded from Canada to more than 15 countries including Brazil, Mexico and Malaysia, helping to drive demand for the world-famous potato.

According to the USDA, 1,366,648 metric tons of potatoes were exported last year, and the total U.S. potato and product exports from July 2010 through June 2011 generated $1.35 billion in revenue, based on data from the United States Potato Board. As the largest potato-growing state in the U.S., Idaho has contributed heavily to this number. In addition to fresh exports, the IPC facilitates dehydrated and frozen potato shipments to Japan, China and other partners overseas.

The demand for fresh Idaho potatoes around the globe is tremendous. Over the past eight years, we've learned how to best leverage the strength of the Idaho potato brand in foreign markets, established relationships with key importers and identified the markets with the greatest opportunity. As a result of our collective efforts, we're looking forward to double-digit growth, and, in some countries such as Mexico, triple-digit growth.

Currently, Canada, Mexico, Malaysia, Singapore and the Caribbean (including Puerto Rico) import the fresh Idaho potatoes the most. Further Idaho potato distribution abroad is expected over the next several years in countries that recently signed free-trade agreements, including Panama, South Korea and Columbia. Expansion opportunities also exist, pending phyto-sanitary requirements in Taiwan and Indonesia, as well as expanded access in Mexico.

To support the growing worldwide demand for Idaho potatoes, the IPC recently opened satellite offices in Mexico City, Hong Kong and Malaysia. In the United States, the IPC hired Amanda Albers as International Marketing Manager to provide marketing support overseas and work closely with U.S. shippers, bolster the growth of Idaho potatoes in established markets and identify new opportunities. PG