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Launching Conscious Consumption™ line of potatoes at CPMA show

Quinton Woods, Senior Sales and Plant Operations Manager of Gwillimdale Farms holds a bag of the grower's new line, the Conscious Consumption™ line of potatoes.

It’s been a strange season for Canadian potatoes. Following last week’s USDA announcement that potatoes from Prince Edward Island will soon be able to resume exporting into the U.S. after a multi-month ban on exports, in turn, that should positively impact the Ontario potato market.

Quinton Woods, Senior Sales and Plant Operations Manager of Gwillimdale Farms:
 
"There’s been an abundance of potatoes across the country but we’re hopeful that will release pressure on Ontario."
This comes at a time when the demand has been what Woods describes as strange.

Quinton Woods:
 
"These last three months have been worse than a roller coaster. One week you’re extremely busy and the next week you’re sitting on your hands. He also adds that food service has not fully returned which also impacts demand."

"There’s a false sense of foodservice picking up even though there’s a large segment of the food service industry still not up and running such as cafeterias in office buildings. People also aren’t back at work and not eating at fast food outlets or restaurants as much."

"The dinnertime service is picking up but we’re not feeling that demand from the lunchtime office building rush. I’d say we’re still missing 40 percent of the foodservice industry."
Pushing on pricing

Meanwhile, pricing is up on potatoes.

Quinton Woods:
 
"Prices are the highest we’ve seen but margins are diminishing, no matter what increases we get. We’re being squeezed in multiple ways--fertilizer is up 53 percent, fuel is twice the price of this time last year and unfortunately, consumers are going to have to pay for it."

"The costs of retail goods are so high right now that families are starting to make things go further. With the rise of inflation, people are going to come to deciding between fuel and putting food on the table."
 
Conscious Consumption is a full line of retail packed #2 product at a discounted price.

Conscious Consumption is a full line of retail packed #2 product at a discounted price.

However, Gwillimdale is introducing a new product at this year’s CPMA show (booth #1301), taking place in Montreal, Quebec, April 5-7, that could tap into a few consumer buying trends (including money-saving) and this could also help potato demand. It will introduce its Conscious Consumption line, which is a full line of retail packed #2 products.

Covering three consumer interests

Quinton Woods:
 
"We’ve had an ongoing struggle with dumping and disposing of perfectly good potatoes with minor blemishes for years."

"So this multifaceted product is a triple treat: it diverts food waste; it’s sustainable since it’s in a fully compostable bag with a sustainable product; and its price point. We’re coming to market with a good quality number two product that’s environmentally friendly at a discounted price."
 
Woods says it has invested in a fully automated line to support its new product.

Woods says it has invested in a fully automated line to support its new product.

Along with looking forward to introducing this new line, Woods also wants to get back out face to face with customers to reconnect and share what Gwillimdale has been up to for the last two years.

Quinton Woods:
 
"A lot happens in a year in this industry and we’ve taken the opportunity to invest. With this new product coming out we’ve invested in a fully automated line from start to finish. We have a lot to show and we are excited."
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