1st Washington Oregon Potato Conference 2010
    Potatoes have long been an important and economical source of energy, nutrition and satiety in the American diet. As one of the top three vegetable carbohydrates consumed by humans on the planet, chances are potatoes will continue to fill that role in the future. However, challenges from the Atkins diet, concerns about the glycemic index and the war on obesity have all targeted potatoes, often with misinformation. Public education alone won’t satisfy today’s consumer, according to working scientists.

    The industry must create products that take these threats into consideration when developing new products for today’s market, according to one of the speakers at the 1st annual Washington – Oregon Potato Conference, scheduled for January 26-28, 2010 at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick, Wash. Cris Rhynalds, Vice President, Lamb Weston Research &Development at ConAgra Foods in Richland, Wash., maintains that “flavor is still the key attribute which keeps consumers coming back to our product.”

    Rhynalds will address “Potatoes in the American Diet, Yesterday, Today and the Future: A Research, Quality and Innovation Perspective” during the Conference general sessions. “Keeping that great flavor plus delivering all the nutritional demands that have been added to the list is how we will succeed in remaining a cornerstone of the human diet and a viable industry,” he says.

    Meeting those nutritional demands will be discussed by Aymeric Goyer, Oregon State University Assistant Professor at the Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Hermiston. His presentation “Vitamins in Potato and Why and How to Increase These Phytonutrients,” will speak to how the genetic diversity of potato as well as the development of green biotechnologies will enable the development of potatoes rich in vitamins.

    Chuck Brown, well-known researcher at the USDA-ARS research station in Prosser, will also deliver a report on “Phytonutrient Variability by Genotype and Growing Region.”

    The three-day Conference will kick off with an early bird reception at the Columbia Center Red Lion the evening of Monday, January 25. Admission to the Conference is $5 at the door.