Dear produce industry friends,
It’s tempting sometimes to take the strong brand appeal of the Idaho® potato for granted. Shoppers love our potatoes, they’re happy to pay extra for them, and many consider a russet potato and an Idaho potato one and the same. So why put a lot of effort into promoting a household staple that practically sells itself?
The 75th anniversary of the Idaho Potato Commission is a timely reminder that, as with show business careers, there are no overnight success stories in the produce business.
The Idaho potato didn’t just happen to become one of our industry’s strongest brands because we grow a lot of potatoes in our state. The Idaho potato success story has been 75 years in the making as we’ve worked to ensure that consumers think “Idaho” when they think potato.
We’re the oldest commodity group in the United States, and we believe our results demonstrate that we’re still the best. The IPC was the first to advertise a commodity on television and was also the creator of the “Grown in Idaho” seal, a federally registered certification mark that ensures that consumers are buying potatoes grown in the state of Idaho. Today, our brand is recognized around the world as a premium potato.
But if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years, it’s that you can never take consumers for granted. Keeping their loyalty demands a steady infusion of thoughtful, engaging promotional strategies and tactics, which is why we still strive to push the envelope with our Idaho potato campaigns.
In the pages of this sixth special Idaho potato issue of The Produce News, you can find out about all the new things we’re doing during the 2011-12 marketing campaign to help drive shoppers to your produce department, and to help you optimize sales in the potato category.
We’re taking advantage of our 75th anniversary to launch the Famous Idaho Potato Tour, featuring a semi-truck with a flatbed trailer that holds an enormous replica of an Idaho russet potato. It’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser that will be traveling from coast to coast in 2012, and it is available for appearances at your stores.
We unveiled the Idaho potato truck Dec. 17 at the inaugural Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, an annual college football bowl game that we will be sponsoring through 2016. This high-impact sports event will be televised on ESPN, and we’ll be featuring it prominently in national and regional marketing campaigns.
As part of our ongoing campaign to emphasize the potato’s nutritional benefits to health-conscious consumers, we announced earlier this year that the Idaho potato is now certified to display the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check Mark. We are one of the few fresh produce products among the more than 800 individual foods in the well-recognized program.
And of course, you don’t want to miss our 21st annual Potato Lover’s Month Retail Display Contest, our longest-running and most popular promotion. It’s a great way to combine your creativity with the IPC’s special point-of-sale marketing materials to drive Idaho potato sales in your produce department.
As we gear up for this 75th anniversary year, we’re looking forward to continuing our tradition of promoting the premium Idaho potato brand in ways that successfully increase consumer consumption.
Vice President of Retail/International
Idaho Potato Commission