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Consumer demand for convenience is accelerating, and that has implications for potato marketers.

The Packer’s Tom Karst attended the annual Potatoes USA meeting in Denver March 13-16, and reports on the presentation from Kim Breshears, director of marketing programs for Potatoes USA.

She reviewed recent consumer studies about potatoes that reveal consumers want reduced cooking time and greater ease of use. That could lead to more demand for quicker-cooking small potatoes and value-added potatoes, she says.

Breshears says a multi-year consumer study the group conducts measures the changing attitudes and opinions of consumers about food and potatoes. The research has consistently shown that flavor, freshness and healthy attributes rank at top of consumer appeal.

“One thing in this year’s study is the (consumer) notion that foods that can be prepared and served quickly and easily gained significantly in what consumers are looking for in food choices,” she says. “This has moved up several notches in terms of order of priority. It is a key driver in terms of consumer choice.”

Consumer preference for convenient food increased 4% from 2016 to 2017, she says. Consumers were recently asked about “motivating messages” that would spur them to consume more potatoes.

She says the top messages, compared with last year, were:

  • News ways of preparing potatoes: 37% in 2017, 35% in 2016;
  • Different tastes and textures: 29% in 2017, same in 2016;
  • Shorter cooking time: 28% in 2017, 26% in 2016;
  • Health/nutrition message: 27% in 2017, 24% in 2016.

 

“The shorter cook time is the third most motivating message and that’s a significant increase from last year,” Breshears says.

 

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