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Idaho potato industry bouncing back from COVID challenges

Idaho’s iconic potato industry suffered through a major scare due to the restrictions and shutdowns imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic. But major efforts by the industry that were coordinated by the state and national groups that represent it have helped potato producers weather that storm, writes Sean Ellis of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation in Idaho State Journal.

And one major silver lining of the challenge is that U.S. consumers have learned how important spuds are. That was one of the main messages during the Idaho Potato Commission’s annual, “The Big Idaho Potato Harvest Meeting,” which was held virtually Nov. 12.

With so many people buying up large amounts of potatoes to cook at home, the IPC began a major effort to educate consumers on how to store and cook those spuds, Muir said.

An IPC social media campaign has helped educate consumers “how to make Idaho potatoes part of their everyday meals … all three meals,” said IPC President and CEO, Frank Muir. “We (also) reinforced to consumers the value and essential nature of potatoes to their family meals.”

Demand has remained strong at the retail level and the foodservice industry is bouncing back quicker than people had anticipated, Muir said. “We are seeing a recovery,” he said.

Source: Idaho State Journal. Read the full report here
Photo: Sean Ellis, Idaho Farm Bureau Federation

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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