Nina Schlossman, owner of Global Food and Nutrition in Washington, DC, has been hired by a coalition of potato industry promotional groups and processors to get private voluntary organizations (PVOs) to use dehydrated potatoes in hunger-relief programs.
Schlossman, who was successful in getting dried beans into aid programs, will help U.S. processors market the 345,000 tons of dehydrated potatoes produced each year. Value of the yearly production has been estimated at $305 million.
John Toaspern, vice president of marketing for the National Potato Promotion Board, who coordinated the coalition, introduced Schlossman at a late October meeting held in Boise, ID.
Processors and industry promotional groups attending came from the Northwest, North Dakota and Wisconsin. In addition, 14 of the country's 18 dehydrators took part in the meeting.
Washington State Potato Commission Executive Director Pat Boss said dehydrated potatoes have been overlooked, even though they have a long shelf life and don't require highly technical storage. He said they transport easily and take up little storage space compared to fresh potatoes.
The USDA and the U.S. Agency for International Development have already cleared potatoes as a food item they would buy for aid packages if PVOs request it. The group will develop sell-in materials such as posters and informational brochures.