POTATOES – THE PERFECT GRILLING FOOD!!
The United States Potato Board’s (USPB’s) online advertising program got off to a hot start in July 2010 with messaging focused on barbequing, grilling, picnics and outdoor entertaining. This program extends the “Peel Back the Truth” message by debunking the convenience and health myths around potatoes, while highlighting inspiring grilling recipes: “Quick and Healthy Grilled Potato Pesto Salad” and “Quick & Healthy Grilled Potato Kabobs”.
The grilling-focused advertisements ran within barbequing, picnic and outdoor entertaining sections on www.AllRecipes.com. AllRecipes.com is the most popular website for online recipes and proved to be the strongest performer for the USPB during the previous online advertising campaign. When users clicked on the banner ads on www.AllRecipes.com, they were directed to a landing page featuring other Quick & Healthy recipes where they watched recipe videos, downloaded and printed recipes and even posted to their Facebook page. This is an effective way to make sure “Linda” includes potatoes when she is planning her next outdoor summer meal.
QUICK AND HEALTHY POTATO SALADS POPPING UP EVERYWHERE!
Heidi Diller, SuperValu/Cub Foods Registered Dietician (RD), was featured on a Wednesday, July 28, 2010, segment of “Twin Cities Live”, a weekday show on the ABC affiliate, 5 Eyewitness News, in Minneapolis/St. Paul. (NOTE TO RUSSET GROWERS AND SHIPPERS BEFORE YOU WATCH: Please do not be offended by her personal insistence that reds be used in potato salad, instead of russets. That is the opinion of this particular Supermarket RD.) Other than that piece, this segment was more than six minutes (HUGE) of very positive potato nutrition messaging and healthy potato salad prep and tasting. Click to watch.
The USPB kicked off the “Quick and Healthy Potato Salad” media push in May 2010 and has seen absolutely incredible coverage in consumer media. This success is the result of the USPB leveraging consumer PR information in our Supermarket RD program. By providing consumer-facing information and tools to RDs, the USPB helps make their job of reaching shoppers easier. In addition to this cooking segment by a supermarket RD, there have been placements in retail circulars, monthly shopper magazines and newsletters, as well as in-store RD demos and online postings of USPB recipes.
According to the “Twin Cities Live” website, people prepared and rallied for the National Night Out on Tuesday, August 3, 2010. Citizens in every state were asked to turn on their porch lights to promote neighborhood safety and community. Many celebrated with block parties and cookouts—and what’s a cookout without the potato salad?
Heidi Diller from CUB Foods has two easy recipes.
TUSCAN POTATO SALAD*
A lightly dressed salad that takes advantage of summer vine ripe tomatoes and fresh basil.
1 pound red potatoes, cut in bite sized pieces
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup red onion, diced
1/3 cup pitted Cub black olives, halved
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
3 tablespoons capers
2 Tbsp Cub extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Add the potatoes to a medium pot with cold water to cover. Bring to a medium boil and boil for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain the potatoes in a colander and allow to dry and cool.
In a serving bowl, add the potatoes, tomatoes, onion, olives, basil, capers. Set aside. In a small bowl combine the oil, vinegar, garlic. Add to the potato ingredients, season with salt and pepper and gently combine. Refrigerate for 1 hour for favors to blend. Then toss before serving.
*Recipe courtesy of Cub Foods
QUICK & HEALTHY CLASSIC POTATO SALAD**
Ideal for serving along any protein that’s gracing your grill this summer, this Quick & Healthy Classic Potato Salad serves up all the rich flavor of your family’s favorite, without the expected calories. By swapping mayonnaise for non-fat plain yogurt, this recipe is 100-percent fat-free with all the crunch and wholesome flavor you’d expect.
1 ½ pounds red potatoes
1 cup Cub*** non-fat plain yogurt
1/3 cup minced red onion
1/3 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup minced dill pickles plus 1 tablespoon juice from jar
1/2 tablespoon Cub*** yellow mustard
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Chopped fresh parsley
Place whole potatoes (do not poke) into microwave-safe dish. Cover dish. (If covering dish with plastic wrap, poke small hole in plastic). Microwave on high for 10 to 12 minutes depending on strength of microwave. Use oven mitts to remove dish from microwave; carefully remove cover from dish due to steam build-up and let cool. Cut potatoes into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl with remaining ingredients; stir well to mix. This salad may be served right away, but is best if refrigerated for at least one hour to allow flavors to blend.
Nutritional analysis per serving :
Calories: 180, Fat: 0g, Saturated Fat: 0g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 700 mg, Potassium: 714mg, Carbohydrates: 41g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 6g, Protein: 6g
**Recipe courtesy of the US Potato Board: http://www.potatogoodness.com/Recipes/QUICK_&_HEALTHY_CLASSIC_POTATO_SALAD/
BACK TO SCHOOL, BACK TO THE DINNER TABLE
The USPB is very excited about a new delivery vehicle for our press releases. This electronic press kit, http://uspb.fhdkc.com/, was sent to hundreds of reporters and editors of traditional and online media outline outlets on August 5, 2010. The theme for Fiscal Year Quarter 1 is “Back to School, Back to the Dinner Table.” In addition to a great new recipe and photo, there were also links to two press releases with very timely research explaining “Linda’s” attitudes and use of potatoes, as well as an embedded video.
USPB Public Relations Manager, Meredith Myers, notes, “Honestly, I’m most excited about the video element. Our very own chairman, Cheryl Koompin, does a simply stunning job connecting with visitors on the subjects of potato growing and living the life of a busy mom.”
This electronic press kit has generated more than 15 million consumer impressions.
POTATOES – THE BACK-TO-SCHOOL PARTNER
It’s back-to-school season, and families across the country find themselves juggling work, school and family. Now that the back-to-school routine has set in, consumers are looking for convenient, nutritious, satisfying meals they can serve their family. Potatoes offer the perfect meal-time solution for the back-to-school season, and two magazine advertisements are leveraged this opportunity.
In an integrated effort with the public relations outreach, two advertisements were placed in highly relevant back-to-school magazines. The “Peel Back the Truth” ad ran in the September issues of Parents and Family Circle magazines, both focusing on back-to-school guides for parents. The nutritional benefits, versatility & all-family pleasing taste of potatoes were emphasized to readers so they consider potatoes the next time they are looking for a tasty, nutritious, back-to-school dinner idea.
ARE COUPONS MORE COST-EFFECTIVE IN DRIVING POTATO PURCHASES?
A recently released study by the USDA’s Economic Research Service (USDA ERS) raises the intriguing question of whether coupons can be more effective than pure price promotion in driving fresh potato purchases. Published in June 2010 and titled Promoting Fruit and Vegetable Consumption - Are Coupons More Effective Than Pure Price Discounts?, the USDA ERS study uses Nielsen panel data to examine produce purchases from 8,482 households to assess the impact coupons have in influencing them.
A key insight the study found is coupons influence shopping behavior in two ways: through the “price discount effect” (the same as with a pure price promotion) and the “informational advertising effect”. The study described this latter element as providing “information about the existence or availability of foods, functioning as an “informational stimulant”. In other words, coupons remind consumers about the availability of fruits and vegetables, possibly causing a household to buy those foods on occasions when the household might not have done so otherwise.
The study found only 9% of households had used coupons for fresh vegetables during the previous year. Importantly, however, the study reported, that among households which used coupons, they:
- Purchased greater quantities of food, increasing vegetable purchases by an average of 10%
- Purchased vegetables more frequently
- Paid higher original prices for the food they purchased
The researchers then created a model to assess the efficiency of coupons versus price-only promotions for increasing vegetable sales. They reported a 10% temporary price reduction generated an average sales increase of 6.9% for vegetables, whereas a coupon for the same 10% savings, which achieved a 10% usage (redemption) level, generated a 2.1% sales increase – but from a much lower marketing investment. Better yet, if the same 10% savings coupon achieved a 30% usage level, they predicted attaining greater than a 6.5% sales increase – roughly comparable to the lift from a temporary price reduction, but still with a reduction in marketing dollars. The USDA ERS researchers attributed this effectiveness largely to the “dual effect” coupons create, and concluded “the use of a coupon to increase fruit and vegetable purchases may be more effective than a pure price-discount policy or other non-coupon promotion.”
The current economic conditions are certainly favoring coupon use. When you consider that Experian’s most recent national consumer study identified that 67% of US households take advantage of cents-off coupons, they clearly have broad appeal to retail shoppers. On top of that, Inmar, a major coupon clearinghouse, reported earlier this year that total coupon redemption in 2009 rose 27% versus the prior year, the first increase in coupon redemption in 17 years! The Inmar report went on to note supermarkets experienced a 20% increase in redemption, while mass merchants recorded 26% growth and dollar stores experienced an astounding 71% surge.
So, perhaps now is the time for the fresh potato category to take a closer look at expanding the use of coupons as a sales driver. Shippers may be able to moderate their marketing investment, while leveraging the “dual effect” of coupons to drive up potato purchase volume and frequency. And, be sure to remind your retail customers to stay aligned with the USPB’s best practices (posted on our Resource Center at www.uspotatoes.com) in order to assure the most profitable potato promotion possible!