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Canada: The Little Potato Company’s Angela Santiago talks creamer potato demand, online trends, and cross-merchandising

If the food pyramid had a “comfort” category, potatoes would certainly be pictured. And at a time when everyone needs a little comfort, it’s no surprise that Creamers and others in the category have been flying off the shelves, reports Melissa De Leon Chavez, writer at AndNowYouKnow.

“It is a vegetable item that is not as highly perishable as other fresh produce items, and potatoes are familiar. There’s no learning what to do with them,” says Angela Santiago, CEO and Co-Founder of The Little Potato Company.

Angela Santiago, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, The Little Potato Company

As we discuss the pivot the COVID-19 pandemic demanded of our industry, and of her team specifically, Angela walks me through the impacts of this temporary normal.

“March was definitely the month all bets were off—we saw an incredible surge in demand in our products, and in the potato category in general,” Angela shares, explaining that though the unprecedented demand has since tapered off, the team is still well ahead in filling orders compared to previous years for April.

The big question, Angela points out, is how long the current situation will continue and what the return will look like.

“As an industry or a society, I don’t think we will all be going back in to work at the same time or on the same level,” she says. “Shelves are being emptied now not because consumers are panic-buying, but because it is difficult to keep up through the supply chain, leading to a second set of challenges coming our way. We’re doing everything we can to get our products to our retail partners and consumers quickly, and we’re optimizing our supply chain process in order to do this.”

In working to understand how to best help consumers, Angela is intrigued by both what they are buying right now and what they are pairing with Creamers. Specifically, she looks to how this reliance on buying Creamers can help spread spending to other produce items as well.

With a longer shelf-life than other perishable items, potatoes present a key investment for retailers

“Cross-merchandising or promotion is a great option, both to help dress up the Creamers in-store to get additional items off the shelf and to help families easily put healthy meals together,” she points out. “For produce, we recommend fresh herbs for flavor, and of course there are all sorts of salad options for potatoes. Partnering with other fruits and veg, as well as proteins is a great way to inspire shoppers, especially because many are looking for healthy mealtime solutions.

Yes, this is a trend over the past decade, but it has expanded even further as COVID-19 prompts people to be more aware of their health.”

The other point Angela’s monitoring is how this might affect our industry online. Historically, fruits and veg are an area of grocery consumers wanted to touch and choose for themselves. But the Co-Founder sees the lasting effects of COVID-19 as a likely breakthrough in this area.

For The Little Potato Company, education and inspiration have been a huge focus. Angela says her team is seeing the rewards of that now as massive traffic surges have hit its website, particularly in looking to recipes as consumers blaze through the typical ways of Little potato prep and begin venturing into the experimental.

Full original report on AndNowYouKnow here.

ClimateAi recently published an interview with Angela Santiago here. You can also listen to the interview on Spotify below.

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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