It Was a Cool Scene in Austin for Potato Expo 2019
It’s a music town, a tech town, and for a few action-packed days, Austin, Texas, was a potato town
By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater
If you couldn’t find something of interest, to your taste or that made you smile or enjoy yourself at the 2019 Potato Expo, January 9-10, in Austin, Texas, perhaps you weren’t trying hard enough.
With the exhibition hall a short walk from the Hilton and Fairmont host hotels, the trade show offered everything from a baked potato bar, an “Innovation Hub,” Process Seed, Chip and Fresh Breakout sessions, demonstrations, keynote speakers, luncheons and networking receptions.
Potatoes USA held its Winter Meeting at the Austin Hilton, January 8-9, before the open of Potato Expo, and there was good news to share. John Toaspern, chief marketing officer for Potatoes USA, said retail potato sales are up 2 percent this year, and all volume sales for fresh are up except for russet potatoes.
There’s been a 3.2 percent increase in domestic demand for potatoes, and exports have seen a 6 percent increase in the last four years.
Kim Breshears, director of marketing programs for Potatoes USA, noted a 21 percent increase in visitors using www.potatoesusa.com, including a 44 percent increase in people looking for potato-related recipes.
The goal of Potatoes USA is to increase the long-term demand for U.S. potatoes, and the national marketing association does it through outreach, domestic and foreign marketing, import and export analytics, merchandising, education, research and even product development.
Campaigns include everything from professional chefs demonstrating recipes using U.S. potatoes (“Potatoes are the MVP of Ingredients”) to performance campaigns (“Potatoes Fuel Performance” and “What Are You Eating?”).
The Potato Business Summit on Wednesday, January 9, sponsored by AMVAC, Simplot, Vive and John Deere, and put on by the Potato Marketing Association of North America, United Potato Growers of America and United Potato Growers of Canada, was information packed.