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Internet provides significant avenues of communication for Potandon

Potandon Produce LLC, headquartered in Idaho Falls, ID, continues to expand its presence on the Internet to connect with customers and consumers. The company, one of the larger marketers of fresh potatoes and one of the larger marketers of onions in North America, holds exclusive licensing rights to the “Green Giant Fresh” brand for fresh potatoes and onions. Potandon also holds the licensing rights of the “Sunspiced” brand for retail and foodservice.

According to the company’s web site, Potandon is the market-share leader in Idaho with over 35,000 dedicated acres and the market leader in the United States with 10 percent market share. Potandon’s operations network is comprised of more than 60 co-packers in 24 states in the United States and nine co-packers in Canada.

Barbara Keckler, the company’s consumer marketing coordinator, said that Potandon’s trade-based web site is currently being rebuilt. “We look forward to the site going live sometime in [the second quarter of 2012] with many new areas for the trade to encounter our innovative products,” she told The Produce News Nov. 28. “This web site will house all of our marketing materials available to help retailers educate and market to their consumers.”

The company is also highly involved with social media to engage consumers. “We link to our web site, our mobile site, Facebook and Twitter on our packaging and in all correspondence that we have with consumers,” Ms. Keckler went on to say. “We have a robust Facebook site that interacts with our web site and includes recipes of the month and potato cooking tips. We are able to offer Internet printable coupons on our web site and on Facebook that are secure and allow consumers to get highly sought-after coupons for fresh produce.

“We have been able to engage the consumer through Twitter and Facebook parties that allow consumers to directly inquire about the potatoes, their attributes, best ways to cook and more,” she continued. “We are looking to engage consumers more in the next year with new promotions.”

In addition to its mainstay potato varieties, Potandon Produce continues to introduce specialty products such as the Klondike Rose, Klondike Goldust and the Klondike Gourmet line. “Our first retail packs of Klondike Rose shipped in August of 2002,” said Ralph Schwartz, director of category management and value-added marketing. “Klondike Rose, Klondike Goldust and Klondike Gourmet are available all year, with an occasional gap between shipping areas.”

The Klondike program has provided an educational opportunity for the company in communicating with young people. “We have recently introduced our Klondike Family on the web site to engage kids in learning about healthy food choices and educate the entire family about growing, selecting and cooking potatoes — with stories involving the family to debut early next year and an interactive holiday card for you to send to your friends and family available for Christmas,” Ms. Keckler said.

On the promotions side, Mr. Schwartz said, “We have undertaken a program where we are supporting some really great causes such as Breast Cancer Awareness through our packaging and our family of electronic media platforms.”

New product offerings are in the wings. “We are working on a group of product line additions right now and are excited to introduce them to the industry and consumers,” Mr. Schwartz said. “We will announce these new varieties as soon as they are ready to debut.”