COLORADO SPRINGS, CO (March 10, 2011)—Potatoes are back—in a big way! Consumer attitudes and actual consumption reveal the United States Potato Board’s (USPB’s) long-term demand building efforts have taken hold, and consumers have responded to the positive nutrition messages championed by the USPB and the rest of the US potato industry.
During the USPB 2011 Annual Meeting, March 9-11, President and CEO Tim O’Connor reported only 18 percent of consumers now hold negative attitudes about potatoes—a dramatic drop in this critical metric. “I’m excited to tell you we are back to where we were prior to the low-carb diets,” he said. “In a short period of time, there has been a lot of work accomplished by the USPB, state organizations, growers, shippers and retailers to defend the nutrition profile of the potato to consumers. We’re back!”
Not only have attitudes about potato nutrition improved, but demand for potatoes has also increased reported Kathleen Triou, VP of Domestic Marketing. Per capita consumption of potatoes increased from 67 annual eatings in 2009, to 74 eatings in 2010. US potato exports have also exceeded $1 billion for three years running. The USPB has created the right marketing messages with the international ‘Why Buy US?’, Linda Deep Dive, new ad campaign creative, Food-aid and nutrition programs.
At the height of the low-carb diet trend, 34 percent of consumers held negative attitudes about potatoes and their nutrition in 2004. The US potato industry recognized the looming crisis this low-carb diet fad had on potato consumption.
The USPB responded with the development of the “Potatoes…Goodness Unearthed®” campaign signature. Research shows this work embodies the core message resonating with consumers, that potatoes are good for you! The current “Peel Back the Truth” campaign is a single example utilizing “Potatoes…Goodness Unearthed®”. Print advertising was initiated in 2008, followed by an online ad campaign in 2010, when net negative consumer attitudes were 24 percent.
“The industry is not without its challenges and this continues to be long-term work, but we’re excited and know we will produce great results for the industry,” O’Connor said. “I am more excited for the next five years than the previous 12 years I’ve had with the industry. We are now in a position for great positive things to take place.”