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Lamb Weston announcement will effectively extend IPC advertising year-round

Lamb Weston, which spun off ConAgra two years ago and is now headquartered in Eagle, ID, recently made a major announcement regarding its new “Grown in Idaho” frozen potato products line that Frank Muir, president of the Idaho Potato Commission, said will effectively extend the commission’s advertising message year round.IPC-Consumer-3A---Lamb-Weston-line

Lamb Weston is one of the largest manufacturers of frozen potato products in the United States and among the largest in the world, with some $3 billion in annual sales as of 2015, according to the Idaho Statesman.

“I have been working with Lamb Weston for the past eight years in helping them develop a line of 100 percent Idaho-grown frozen retail potato products,” Muir told The Produce News Aug. 24. “This will probably be the largest launch in Lamb Weston’s history. They are now in process of selling it in, and all of the major customer accounts have accepted it.”

The announcement is significant for all Idaho potatoes, fresh as well as processed, because the Lamb Weston advertising campaign “will look just like our advertising,” Muir said. Even though fresh Idaho potatoes are available all year, “I can’t afford to have our advertising go year round.”

This year, for example, the commission’s television advertising campaign will premier nationally Sept. 22 and run through March. “But what is going to happen is when ours ends, [Lamb Weston’s] is pretty much starting, so we are going to have in effect a full 12 months worth of advertising for Grown in Idaho potatoes.

“It is all about consumption of more potatoes,” Muir continued. “They all start out fresh,” and whether a grower is growing for the fresh market or for the process market, “we have to move them all. We want to push demand on all segments of this potato category.”

While details are still being worked out, there will be some type of fresh merchandising at the retail level between fresh Idaho potatoes in the produce section and Lamb Weston’s frozen “Grown in Idaho” potatoes in the freezer section, Muir explained. That will “leverage the [Idaho] brand” by encouraging consumers “to consume more potatoes at different times and for different reasons.