Vol.3 ISSUE 2 SUMMER 2010
The Lotteria hamburger chain in Vietnam switched to US origin frozen fries for its new contract period, December 2009 through December 2010. With 65 restaurants all over Vietnam, the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) chain uses around 35 metric tons of frozen fries per month. The first shipment of US fries arrived in January and were in all stores March 2010. In September 2009, the United States Potato Board (USPB) initiated a marketing program for US frozen potatoes in Vietnam. Working with Lotteria, the USPB’s international representative provided technical training on proper fry storage, handling and preparation.
RESTAURANT CHAIN IN SHANGHAI CHINA SWITCHES TO US FROZEN POTATOES
Saizeriya, a chain of western-style family dining restaurants in Shanghai, with 32 stores, a total of 3000 seats and annual sales of $7.33 million, switched to US frozen potatoes. Starting in 2008, the USPB representative in China made regular visits to the chain to encourage use of US frozen potato products. Serving wedges made with local potatoes, the restaurant was dealing with broken product after baking.
Hearing this complaint during a visit to Saizeriya, the USPB international representative arranged for US frozen wedges for them to test. The better quality convinced the company to switch their supply of wedges for all stores. Since December 2009, 270,000 orders of this dish were made and volume reached 600 cases. The company contracted a supply of US wedges for the remainder of 2010.
USPB SEMINAR CONVINCES DISTRIBUTOR TO CARRY US FROZEN POTATO PRODUCTS
Harbin Hongwei Coffee Food Co., Ltd. became a new US frozen potato distributor after attending an international frozen program training seminar. Hongwei specializes in handling food ingredients, especially for western-style restaurants in the Harbin area (Northeast China). The General Manager of Hongwei attended the “USPB Local Cuisine Initiative Seminar,” held in Harbin, September 23, 2009. During this seminar, he was impressed by the versatility and variety of US frozen potato products sampled and tasted at the seminar. He said the USPB seminar convinced him to handle these value-added products to provide more choices for his clients.
The initial order, 30 cases of each variety, was placed by Hongwei with a US processor for basket weave fries, frozen mashed potatoes, triangle hash browns and wedges. This was the first time these products were introduced to the Harbin area by this particular US processor.
AMUSEMENT PARK ADDS US…
In February 2010, Shanghai Changfeng Ocean World began carrying an assortment of US frozen potato products in its different restaurants. The park opened April 1999 and has become a hot spot in the city, especially for kids. It now boasts over 500,000 visitors per year and total annual revenue of $5.4 million.
The USPB international representative visited with restaurant management staff at Ocean World in December 2009 and introduced the characteristics of US frozen potato products, focusing especially on the many varieties of US products that would appeal to children. Park management was extremely interested in using the products and contacted a US processor representative.
Shanghai Changfeng Ocean World ended up selecting ¼ shoestring fries, tater drums and Starz. Sales performance has exceeded their expectations with 240 boxes of these US products sold during February and March 2010. They are expanding the use of the products on their menu.
NEW LAUNCH AT KFC KOREA SUPPORTED BY INTERNATIONAL MARKETING PROGRAM
KFC Korea launched a new potato side dish, “Potato Chip”, made with US frozen potatoes. Until now, quick service restaurants in Korea had only been selling shoestring fries with some occasional value added products.
This “Potato Chip” is the very first of its kind to be launched by a QSR chain in Korea. The new side menu has a crunchy texture—a new taste experience for Koreans who are used to the fluffy texture of shoestring fries. To promote the new potato menu, KFC Korea launched a new set of menus featuring the “Potato Chip.” The lunch set menu includes: one sandwich, two pieces of tender strips, one soda and “Potato Chip” at KRW 5,000. This menu is available from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. USPB Korea cooperatively supported this promotion, which ran from March 4-April 21, 2010.
CONSUMER COOKING CLASSES DEMONSTRATE HOME USES FOR
A cooking class, featuring US frozen potato recipes, was conducted with VIP subscribers of Health Chosun, a monthly health magazine in Korea. The magazine has a circulation of 100,000 copies and is published by the country’s largest media group, Chosun Ilbo Group. Held December 15, 2009 at the Sookmyung Women’s University Cultural Center, the cooking class was for mothers and their children.
The class featured healthy recipes for kids made with US frozen potatoes. The featured recipes were a Hash Brown Sandwich, an Herb & Garlic Potato Salad, a Baked Potato Boat and Baby Baker Potato Skewers. The cooking class was featured in the January issue of Health Chosun.
Two additional consumer cooking classes were conducted at the cultural center of the GS Department Store/GS Mart chain. These classes featured recipes for an open quesadilla with Hash Browns and a chicken wrap with shoestring fries.
USPB Korea also conducted a joint cooking class with the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council focused on a Christmas party menu. This class took place on December 17, 2009, at the Miele brand kitchen equipment showroom. Featured recipes were Whole Roasted Turkey and Potato Wedges, Warm Salad with Baby Bakers and Turkey Ham, and Whole Baked Cheese Potato with Chopped Kimchi. Before the class, there was a brief introduction meeting, and baked waffle potatoes were served during this session. Afterwards, the cooking class was featured in one of the participants’ blog.
INTERNATIONAL MENU DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM RESULTS IN ANOTHER NEW MENU ITEM
Domino’s Pizza Korea launched a new pizza menu using a new US frozen potato topping. The new pizza, “Napoli Fresh Pizza,” features US frozen sliced potatoes as one of the toppings. This new menu item is a direct result of the participation by the R & D Manager from Domino’s Korea on a USPB Menu Development Reverse Trade Mission conducted in Washington State in October 2009.
JAPAN FROZEN POTATO RETAIL PROMOTION INCREASES SALES
The USPB International Marketing program in Japan worked with three supermarket chains in the Tokyo area to promote Heinz Range Potatoes®. Range Potatoes are a retail pack of frozen wedges that can be cooked in the microwave or fried in a skillet. The promotions lasted for two days in 25 stores. Some of the comments from customers at the supermarkets were “a new style of eating,” “a sweet chocolate nicely goes with range potatoes,” “kids loved range potatoes with chocolate.” All of the supermarkets saw double digit increases in sales during and after the promotions, and many of them sold out of the product.
US HASH BROWNS MAKE IT INTO THE BUN
Flapjacks, a restaurant chain in the Philippines specializing in classic American breakfasts and lunches, introduced a new hash-brown burger with a US hash brown patty inserted along with the meat in the bun. The chain is called upon regularly by the USPB representative in the Philippines and receives their Potatobilities monthly newsletter with new and innovative ideas about using US frozen potatoes.
COSTCO INTRODUCES TWO NEW US FROZEN POTATO PRODUCTS
In March 2010, Costco began selling “Dee AMORÉ” frozen potato skins and “Pure Nature’s” Organic Fries. The product is being imported directly by Costco and sold at its 32 club stores around the country. The USPB in Mexico supports the sale of US frozen potato products at retail with in-store promotions and sampling.
©2010 United States Potato Board