Originally posted on Potato Grower.
Shoppers always get excited over new products that promise delicious, flavorful foods that are easy to prepare. It’s hard to imagine an easier way to serve delicious potatoes than with Potandon Produce’s new microwavable potato offerings. Attendees at the New England Produce Council Floral & Food Service Expo 2021 will be able to find out all about these new items.
“Our main focus is going to be introducing our new Minute Mashers Green Giant fresh value-added products and our Green Giant One-Step … Done!,” said Glen Reynolds, vice president of variety sales and business development for Potandon Produce, headquartered in Idaho Falls, Idaho. “They’re both microwavable full skin-on potatoes of a proprietary Klondike variety. You put them both in the microwave and within six to seven minutes, you have a fully prepared side dish.”
The products are fully seasoned with Minute Mashers offered in sea salt and pepper, chive and dill, and roasted garlic varieties. One Step…Done! is available in sesame spice, roasted red pepper, garlic rosemary, toasted onion and Cajun style flavors.
“We saw that there was an opportunity in the marketplace,” Reynolds said. “A lot of competition had seasoned products where you mixed seasonings together, but consumer research showed that consumers really wanted a one-touch meal solution for potato side dishes.”
He explained that creating these new products started with exploring packaging and machinery options and developing a genuine one-touch microwavable potato dish.
“It’s truly convenient,” Reynolds said. “There’s no mixing, no stirring, the seasoning is all in the packaging itself so there’s no need for additional ingredients. It’s truly a one-touch process.”
2021 has seen the return of live and in-person produce shows, which are universally preferred over the virtual models that were held in 2020, and Reynolds said shows like the NEPC Expo are important for several reasons.
“It gives us an opportunity to present new products to a larger audience than normal,” he said. “It gives us an opportunity to reignite some existing relationships and get face time with people and really understand the marketplace.”
COVID-19 is still impacting the country, but progress has been made following vaccination efforts, and Reynolds is optimistic that the rest of the year will see strong sales.
“We hope the holiday season is going to be robust this year,” he said. “There are still many retailers across the country that are not allowing face-to-face visits, and a lot of wholesalers are working remotely, so that creates some challenges. We’ve been doing it for a while, so there’s a lot of hope for a robust holiday season.”
He further explained that 2020 saw a big learning curve as the industry dealt with dramatic changes in the way business is conducted.
“2021 has been a little bit more stable, just in terms of learning how to communicate remotely, doing more electronic communications through Zoom, etc.,” he said. “But 2021 still has had a lot of ups and downs and roller coasters in terms of face-to-face meetings, limited slots in warehouse and in terms of freight challenges. It’s been an up-and-down year.”
Whatever changes come along, the dedicated and knowledgeable staff of Potandon Produce is ready to succeed.
“We have one of top five recognized food brands in the industry with Green Giant Fresh, that’s extremely important to our company,” Reynolds said. “Our company still operates very lean. We’re very focused on consumer trends and new directions in the industry. We’re a leader in innovative products and innovate solutions, in the potato category especially.”