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MountainKing looking to capitalize on consumer preference for smaller bags

New sales figures indicate when it comes to bagged fresh potatoes, smaller package sizes are starting to sell big.

Sales of bagged fresh potatoes under four pounds are up 17.8 percent from a year ago and 112 percent in the past 10 years, according to data from AC Nielson Fresh Facts.

MK-Small-Bags"These new figures illustrate why retailers need to re-think their bagged fresh potato merchandising strategies with a greater emphasis on smaller package sizes," John Pope of Houston-based MountainKing Potatoes said in a press release. "They underscore what we've been seeing for quite some time - that consumers are buying in smaller quantities."

Two key factors are contributing to the growth of smaller bagged potatoes, according to Pope. First, family sizes continue to shrink, with two thirds of all U.S. households currently under the age of 30 or over the age of 50. Second, the availability of online recipes has led shoppers to plan a meal at a time rather than buying for several meals, thereby increasing the average number of shopping visits per week. Consumers now average 2.2 shopping trips per week, the highest in 10 years.

While sales of the smaller package sizes continue to grow, so too are profits for grocers who merchandise the smaller packages, according to Pope.

Fresh potatoes in bags five pounds and larger offer an average ring per pound of 52 cents while the average ring per pound of potatoes in smaller bags is $1.52.

"Retailers who shift their merchandise to smaller pack sizes will realize significant profit improvement from their fresh potatoes," Pope said in the press release.

MountainKing has made smaller package sizes a focus of its sales efforts to retailers. The company's seven smaller package sizes include its four-count Steakhouse Bakers, three-pound Steakhouse Golds, 1.5-pound Steakhouse Roasters, three-pound Seafood B Reds, three-pound MountainKing Russets, three-pound MountainKing Reds and a 16-ounce package of the company's Heat and Eat Gold Mashed. Each offers 8-10 servings to help households avoid waste.

MountainKing Potatoes is a leading grower of high-flavor potato varieties whose products reach 1 million U.S. households each week, according to the company.