Black Gold Farms Keith Groven Talks Sweet Potatoes for Holiday Demand
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
GRAND FORKS, ND - While sweet potato supply continues to work its way back up in the eastern U.S., demand remains strong as we head into Thanksgiving and the holiday season.
“Overall, sweet potato demand has continued to grow with the largest demand growth coming from the packaged sweet potatoes,” Keith Groven, Fresh Sales Manager for Black Gold Farms, shares, explaining that convenience and smaller size profiles are likely the leading cause for the bagged products’ growth in popularity. “Sweet potatoes are also becoming less seasonal; not because they are becoming less popular during the holidays, but because they are becoming significantly more popular during the rest of the year.”
To encourage this shift toward year-round demand for the category, Keith recommends retailers use the holiday push to showcase the versatility sweet potatoes offer outside of marshmallow-decked yams and holiday pies.
“Knowing that many consumers are making trips to the produce department specifically to shop for sweet potatoes this time of year is a great opportunity to share messages about other cooking methods and recipes like using sweet potatoes as wedges, or even making a delicious hummus for an appetizer. Anything to help increase the purchasing frequency of this healthy vegetable is a win for both the consumer and the retailer,” he says.
While we are looking at a tighter inventory, with the yields for the 2018 crop being average as compared to what we had coming out of the large 2017 crop, Keith assures that retailers will have what they need to supply holiday shoppers.
“This won’t impact availability for the holiday season, but we have seen the open market get much stronger over the last 60 days. We are seeing excellent quality and pack-out on the new crop,” he concludes.
Keep an eye on the digital horizon as we continue to keep an ear to the ground for all key holiday vegetables and fruits.