Promotion Planning For Potatoes

Sid Staunton

New leadership was elected in March for the United States Potato Board (USPB). A name that has been showing up repeatedly the last few years is Sid Staunton. Coming as no surprise to many, Staunton was elected chairman for 2012.

A potato grower from Tulelake, CA, he is now serving his sixth year on the board. In 2011 Staunton was re-elected to the organization’s Executive Committee; in 2010, he served as co-chairman of the Industry Communications and Policy Committee, and previously he served as the Chairman of the USPB’s Finance Committee.

Staunton is a third-generation potato grower and has been involved in producing and marketing potatoes for more than 30 years. With his brothers, he farms on 5,000 acres, producing fresh market Russets, organic Russets, Klamath Pearls, and red potatoes. The family farm also grows wheat, barley, onions, alfalfa, and peppermint. Staunton also is president of Cal-Ore Produce, which packs 1.4 million cwt. per year of russet potatoes (including organic russet potatoes).

American Vegetable Grower had a conversation with Staunton to find out what his plans are as chairman of USPB and where he hopes the organization will be in the future.

Q1 What are your main goals for the coming year as the newly elected chairman of the United States Potato Board?

The Potato Board is focused on increasing demand for potatoes and potato products. We do this with long-range goals in mind: expanding markets, improving the position of U.S. potatoes, and presenting a favorable image of potatoes to the public. Foodservice accounts for more than 50% of potato sales. Restaurants are at the forefront of American food trends innovation. For the last five years, USPB has hosted an annual event at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa, CA. The top executive chefs from major restaurant chains participate. Menu items featuring potatoes have increased by 16% since the inception of the program, plus it informed consumers on new uses of potatoes.

Q2 Can you discuss the “Net Positive Attitudes” metric that was a topic at the 2012 annual meeting and how that will impact demand?

The net positive is the percentage of respondents rating potatoes “excellent” for being healthy, convenient, flavorful, and fresh. We began scoring this in 2011 and have data for 2012. The increase is 2% in one year among our target group and U.S. sample group.

Q3 What are some of the most successful tactics used to promote potatoes domestically?

We have several top programs that help increase demand for potatoes. Our research program has continued to deliver nutritional information to disprove the anti-potato myths. The website www.potatogoodness.com is a big hit and the feedback is very positive.  

Retail marketing has a new outreach program that engages retailers in a face-to-face meeting where USPB shares category trends, shopper insights, and proven best practices to grow the fresh potato category.

Q4 How have potato varieties changed and evolved in recent years and how has that impacted marketing?

Potato varieties are changing. The board works with two programs: the National Fry Processing Trials (NFPT) and the National Coordinated Processing Trials (NCPT). They are fast-track programs that work with university research to develop new process varieties that have the outstanding qualities of our current process varieties with lower levels of acrylamides. In the retail and foodservice sectors, buyers have been introduced to new varieties and colors. Growers are responding with an increase in specialty varieties.

Q5 You have had experience on several USPB committees. How has the board grown and changed over the years?

The largest change has been the development of a coordinated plan for the domestic and international programs. The plan was developed and reviewed by board members, administrative committee members and the executive committee, state organizations, and the industry. We have a close relationship with the National Potato Council and the state potato commissions. The team approach helps lift the potato segment.

Q6 Where do you hope to see the USPB in 10 years?

In 10 years I would like to see the continued expansion in exports, as 94% of the world’s population live outside of the U.S. I would also like to see teamwork within the industry continue to strengthen and net negatives at less than 10% and, lastly, I’d like to see the potato declared the national vegetable. 

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

All Vegetables Stories >All Fruits Stories >All Nuts Stories >All Citrus Stories >

The Latest

Crop ProtectionBagrada Bug On The Move In California
September 16, 2014
Find out more on management tactics and what counties are impacted by this invasive pest. Read More
Cucurbits14 Stand-Out Melon Varieties [Slideshow]
September 15, 2014
Browse the slideshow below for information on these exceptional melon varieties from the nation’s leading seed breeders and distributors. Read More
Grower Achievement AwardView Highlights From The 2014 United Fresh Washington P…
September 15, 2014
Browse this slideshow to view photos from the 2014 United Fresh Washington Public Policy Conference, including pictures of this year’s Grower Read More
Apples & PearsCanneries Hope To Encourage Growers To Grow Pears For P…
September 15, 2014
Higher wholesale prices offered as means to boost canning pear acres. Read More
FruitsDeadline Nearing For Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistanc…
September 15, 2014
Fruit growers who suffered losses due to frost or freeze in 2012 could be eligible for assistance through USDA’S Farm Service Agency. Read More
BerriesBotrytis Gray Mold Pressure Increasing With Humid Weath…
September 15, 2014
Michigan State University researcher offers tips to reduce the spread of spores. Read More
Fruits5 Mistakes You May Be Making With Your Orchard’s …
September 15, 2014
These deadly sins may be hurting your customers’ experience — and costing you money. Read More
FruitsSuccess And The Not-Top-100 Grower [Opinion]
September 15, 2014
Innovation isn't only happening at the top. Some of the most interesting ideas in the fruit industry are being executed by small growers. Read More
Apples & PearsAmerican and Western Fruit Grower’s 2014 Top Appl…
September 13, 2014
The nations’s largest growers reflect how technology, innovations, and promotion help make their businesses run more efficiently. Read More
NutsAmerican and Western Fruit Grower’s 2014 Top Nut …
September 13, 2014
Almonds, pistachios, and walnuts grown in California make up the crops featured in this portion of the Top 100 Report. Read More
FruitsAmerican and Western Fruit Grower’s 2014 Top 100 …
September 13, 2014
The nations’s largest growers reflect how technology, innovations, and promotion help make their businesses run more efficiently. Read More
Stone FruitAmerican and Western Fruit Grower’s 2014 Top Ston…
September 13, 2014
This year’s Top 100 Report features the 25 largest stone fruit growers in the country. Read More
GrapesAmerican and Western Fruit Grower’s 2014 Top Grap…
September 13, 2014
The nations’s largest growers reflect how technology, innovations, and promotion help make their businesses run more efficiently. Read More
GrapesVintage Nurseries Welcomes New General Manager
September 12, 2014
New quality control manager also joins Wasco, CA, grapevine nursery. Read More
GrapesBrothers Continue To Grow Grapes And Produce Wine ̵…
September 12, 2014
The war has come close to their vineyard 90 miles southwest of Aleppo, with fighting only 100 yards away. Read More
GrapesMealybug Infestation Hits Michigan Vineyards
September 12, 2014
Southwestern vineyards in the state reports of grape leafroll virus which can be transmitted by mealybug. Read More
GrapesCalifornia Quarantine Partially Lifted For European Gra…
September 12, 2014
State lifts ban in Solano County and parts of Napa and Sonoma County. Read More
Crop ProtectionNimitz Nematicide Receives EPA Approval
September 12, 2014
New product from Adama has a unique mode of action and is approved for use on a variety of vegetables. Read More