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NPPGA: Red potatoes are good for baking

The Northern Plains Potato growers Association (NPPGA) is running a new advertising campaign designed to get buyers to associate red potatoes with the Red River Valley.

“Thinking red potatoes?” asks the ad. “Think the Red River Valley,” it says.

The campaign, sponsored by East Grand Forks, Minn.-based Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, includes ads in national trade publications and trade show banners, said Ted Kreis, marketing and communications director.

However, the trick might be in getting buyers to think red potatoes to begin with. Red potatoes are still a niche product in some markets, said Dave Moquist, partner and sales manager, O.C. Schulz &Sons Inc., Crystal, N.D. It will take time to move them into the mainstream.

Red River Valley marketers hope retailer and foodservice buyers as well as consumers will start thinking more often of red potatoes as an alternative to russets for baking.

“In some cases, the consumer doesn’t think you can bake a red potato,” Moquist said. “For those of us who grew up eating red potatoes, we prefer the baked red. We know it tastes great and eats great.”

Large red potatoes, in particular, are good for baking, but Kreis said he doesn’t often see them in supermarkets.

“We’re trying to … educate consumers that you can bake red potatoes,” said Tom Campbell, co-owner and sales manager for Campbell Farms, Grafton, N.D. “It has a good potato taste and more moisture than a russet.”

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The Northern Plains Potato Growers Association's mission is to promote profitability and unity of the potato growers of the adjoining states of Minnesota and North Dakota through the development and promotion of quality potatoes and potato products