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Potatoes USA International Marketing Committee reports on growing export opportunities

Potatoes USA International Marketing Committee Meeting Overview

Export of US potatoes and potato products harvest 2011- 2015; Based on Fresh Volume (Source: Potatoes USA International Marketing Committee)

The Potatoes USA international marketing committee met prior to the Annual Meeting in Denver March 15 & 16. The committee heard how US potato exports have grown 183% in the past 20 years and now account for close to 20% of production.

To better understand the potential for future growth in exports they reviewed the current world demand for potatoes and potato products.

World trade in potatoes has grown 13% over the past five years, led by 20% growth in trade of frozen potato products. U.S. exports, despite the decline in 2014/15 have grown 10% during this five-year period. Based on the trendline U.S. exports will surpass the $2 billion mark in 2019.

However, there are real and potential impediments to this growth led by the strength of the dollar, especially versus the currencies of competitors; the EU, Canada, China and New Zealand. Potential trade disputes created by a protectionist actions by the U.S. government would also limit export growth.

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Ongoing efforts to increase access

The objectives of the international marketing program are to increase U.S. potato exports; expand access for U.S. potatoes; make sure consumers know potatoes’ one key health benefit; getting more people eating more U.S. potatoes in more ways.

To achieve these the international foodservice program is inspiring culinary professionals to offer more potatoes on their menus through the following activities: menu development events, trade education, technical training, reverse trade missions and promotions of U.S. potato dishes on menus. To protect and grow U.S. market share

Why Buy U.S. messaging is delivered through many different activities. The ingredient program delivers innovative ways to use potatoes as an ingredient in new products. This is done through product application studies, event marketing, trade education and sampling activities.

The international retail program works to grow sales of all U.S. potatoes and products through in-store promotions, retailer education and reverse trade missions. The consumer program celebrates the potential of U.S. potatoes in the international markets. Consumer communications rely heavily on social media but also as the result of public relations which generates a great deal of coverage in the press online and in print, radio and TV. Just as in the U.S., recipe videos are a big part of the social media content.

Potato nutrition is very important in the international markets and has received excellent coverage from numerous events ranging from fun physical activity based to serious scientific panels.

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Assessment of new potential export markets

U.S. seed potato exports are promoted through field trials in the target markets and registration of U.S. varieties in these markets. In the summer of 2017 a reverse trade mission will bring current and potential buyers of U.S. seed potatoes to the U.S. for meetings and field visits.

All of these programs rely heavily on increased access for U.S. potatoes and products to be successful. To achieve this Potatoes USA works with the National Potato Council and state potato organizations through the Phytosanitary Initiative and American Potato Trade Alliance.

Recent successes include greater access for chipping potatoes to Japan and increased access for fresh and seed potatoes to a number of countries in Central America. Many other efforts are ongoing.

The meeting wrapped up with a confirmation of the decisions for the FY18 programs made at the committee meeting in January.

These include:

  • The development of a non-commercial foodservice program focused on schools and corporate cafeterias
  • Conducting in-depth market research in Brazil, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
  • Focusing more on the potatoes = performance message for nutrition messaging.

Full Presentation International Marketing Committee Potatoes USA.

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Presentation International Marketing Committee Potatoes USA.
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Potatoes USA - until recently named the United States Potato Board (USPB) - is the nation’s potato marketing organization. Potatoes USA is the central organizing force in implementing programs that will increase demand for potatoes.