view current print edition




Wealth of retail info about IEO onions available at touch of a finger

The Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee is connecting with onion lovers of all ages. Seen here are Nathaniel and Autumn, who live in the Treasure Valley. (Photo courtesy of IEOOC)

PARMA, ID — Who knew that information could be waifer-thin and yet boundless all at the same time? Just ask anyone with a smartphone and an itchy trigger finger.

The technological universe has expanded to such a degree that consumers and retailers travelling into the not-so-distant future a mere five to 10 years ago would probably not recognize the place to which they had been transported. Today, these technology tidbits have become so enticing, widely recognized and, indeed, taken for granted that savvy organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to conduct business without them.

For example, take smartphones. They are all the chatter in 2011 and with good reason. With a preloaded reader program or by downloading a free app from, consumers can snap a picture of a QR code and gain instant access to a wealth of information at lightning speed. And that information can be about just anything.

qr code
One of the QR codes that links to various features on the IEOOC web site. (Photo courtesy of IEOOC)

QR stands for “quick response” and is a sign of just how instantly gratification can occur. It doesn’t matter if the consumer is in the produce department or at a mailbox. That blocky graphic vaguely resembling a crossword puzzle on a display or envelope is the portal to another plain.

QR codes were first introduced for tracking in vehicle manufacturing. But the times, they are a-changin’. It’s true that “There’s an app for that,” as the saying goes. And increasingly, there is a QR code for that as well.

The Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee first recognized the limitless capability of QR codes in 2009. The organization has a number of QR codes in place that facilitate the cutting-edge flow of information.

A retailer can gain access to IEOOC’s shippers list through a quick response code and actually select and call a specific shipper then and there. A consumer wanting to find a delicious recipe for dinner that night can snap a QR code on an onion display, read the recipe, pick up the necessary ingredients and head home without breaking a sweat.

Interestingly, it is often the younger generation — growing up during this age of technology — that is educating their parents about yesterday’s science fiction and today’s science fact.

They may be young today, but they are the consumers of tomorrow.

The Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee has acknowledged the importance of connecting with children and is actively engaging them. Children can visit and watch a fun two-minute YouTube video featuring young, fresh faces and themed around “I Love Onions.” The video’s music is way too cool.

The web site also has a “Just for Kids” tab providing children with interesting, factual information about onion history and health benefits. A special Spanish Sweet Onion Word Scramble game is also linked on the site.

Kids who are so inclined can also click a link on the home page to become a Big Onion fan on Facebook.

Consumers of all ages can access a host of valuable information on the internet. In addition to recipes featured on, onion lovers can download tantalizing recipes at The document index includes recipes in PDF format that can be printed. Photos of the mouthwatering plated final product are included, and consumers can easily transform their kitchens into gourmet venues.

A host of promotional items and materials are also available at the web site. The new Spanish Sweet Onion Cookbook includes foodservice and consumer recipes with high resolution photos guaranteed to please.

Retailers can take advantage of detailed information at the web site which can be passed along to consumers. This includes information about onion storage and handling, cooking characteristics of Spanish Sweets, onion prep tips, preparation and yield charts and detailed descriptions of onion sizes and varieties.