50 for 50: Idahoan Foods

Published online: Dec 28, 2021 50 for 50, Articles
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Throughout 2021, as part of Potato Grower’s celebration of our 50th year in publication, we will be honoring in our pages and on our website 50 of the potato industry’s most innovative and influential individuals, companies and organizations over the past half-century. This “50 for 50” series will include researchers, salesmen, packers, processors and, of course, plenty of potato growers. A lot of them will be names you’ve heard before. To some, you’ll get a fresh introduction. Regardless, each has had an outsize impact on the U.S. potato industry, and each deserves our thanks and recognition. To view the full roster of “50 for 50” honorees, click here. 
This article appears in the December 2021 issue of Potato Grower

Once upon a time, the Earth’s crust stretched and thinned along what is today known as the Teton Fault, forming an incredibly beautiful and dramatic mountain range. The result of the ensuing volcanic activity set the stage for the formation of some of the planet’s most uniquely fertile farm ground, where the most famous potatoes in the world would be grown.

Six million years later, in an effort to find more shelf-stable meals for troops serving in World War II, the U.S. military and USDA collaborated to develop the first potato dehydration process. In 1951, a mere nine years after the government’s first potato dehydration facility began operations, a group of potato farmers in Lewisville, Idaho, joined forces to start their own dehydration plant, and the Idahoan brand was born. From the beginning, the company has strived not only to produce delicious, convenient potato products to consumers, but to showcase the unique beauty and fertility of the state of Idaho.

Idahoan developed a proprietary, innovative dehydration process that better preserves natural potato taste and texture. The company’s innovative leadership has done as much as perhaps anything else to enhance the U.S. dehydrated potato sector. With its résumé of flavorful creativity and its strong manufacturing processes firmly in place, in 1990 the company changed the game again, launching new flavored mashed potatoes in a pouch—Buttery Homestyle, Four Cheese and Roasted Garlic. Since then, Idahoan has added several other flavors that have become popular with consumers—including Loaded Baked, Baby Reds and Bacon Cheddar Chipotle.

Over the years, Idahoan has added a number of convenient products to its portfolio: casseroles in both regular and family size; crispy and savory hash browns; and its famous mashed potatoes in an on-the-go cup, all in an effort to produce delicious, convenient dishes for every consumer. One of the most successful of these is its lineup of Idahoan Hearty Soups, introduced in 2015.

Idahoan fully expects its stated mission of innovation to continue to deliver consumers quality, real Idaho potatoes with its famous homemade in all the ways they love for many years to come.