Wada Farms Marketing Group LLC in Idaho Falls, ID, markets potatoes not
only in cartons and bags but also in an assortment of special retail packs.
In the past, the company has offered "what we called 'Easy Steamer,'“ with 1.5
pounds of potatoes in a microwavable bag, said Kevin Stanger, senior vice
president of sales and marketing. “This year we transitioned" from the “Easy
Steamer” into a new one-pound microwavable product called “Microwave in
Bag!” It is available in red and yellow varieties.
According to the company’s web site, along with the name change, “our
microwave-ready steam bag of red and yellow potatoes has received a whole
new look. The new design features clearer messaging that highlights the
convenience of this value-added item. Ready in eight minutes, this one-
pound bag of ready-to-eat goodness retains the taste and texture of oven
baked potatoes in a fraction of the time.”
The product comes in 20-pound cartons containing 20 of the one-pound
bags and is available year round. “We offer a variety of promotional materials
including secondary displays, gift card sweepstakes, p-o-s material,
downloadable sales presentation and product info sheet,” according to the
Along with the new product introduction, the company has introduced a new
high-graphic attention-grabbing display pod, a mini-bin roughly two feet
square and counter height with a chic look that can be either used as a free-
standing display or backed up against a display case for a spillover style
display. It is also used as a secondary display in the meat or deli department
or next to rotisserie chickens. Each unit can display about two dozen of the
“Microwave in Bag!” packages.
Wada has also been running various special promotional activities with
specific retail customers in conjunction with the new product and the new
pod display, including pod display contests and consumer incentives, Mr.
The switch from the 1.5-pound size to the one-pound size for potatoes in
ready-to-microwave bags came about as a result of extensive market
research, he said. The one-pound size allows retailers to sell the product at a
price point that it will move better.
There has been not huge growth but “a consistent growth” in the category,
and “I think as things develop, it will continue to grow,” he said.
Wada also continues to offer its individually wrapped microwavable potatoes
called “Easy Baker.”
Russet Norkotah and Russet Burbank potatoes continue to be the main Idaho
potato varieties offered by Wada Farms. But this year, the company will also
be growing in Idaho on a commercial scale some red and yellow varieties and
some other specialty varieties as well. Those will be offered under the “Wada”
label as well as the “Dole” label and will be available in three-pound, five-
pound and 10-pound poly bags. Some of them will also go into the
microwavable bags, “so we will have our own supply” for those packs.
Wada Farms also works with a network of co-packers throughout the country
with its “Dole” label marketing programs.
In addition to potatoes, “our onion program continues to grow,” Mr. Stanger
said. Also, “we are very heavily involved in sweet potatoes now in our Dole
sweet potato program, and that has definitely grown.”
New on sales this season are Manny Carvajal, who is new to the industry, and
Dominick Carnazzo, who was previously with Pro*Act, he said.