California is gearing up to begin harvesting its fresh-crop sweet potatoes next month. “In the meantime, sweet potato supplies and availability are tighter across the marketplace,” says Prescott Leyba, director of sales for Bako Sweet® based in Bakersfield, California. “Sweet potato storage crop will continue to be used for the next two months. Supplies get tight during this time of year unless you have a bumper crop across the category.”
Sweet potato demand though tends to slow down this time of year. “It’s when people are looking for summer items like stone fruit and berries,” says Leyba. “We are seeing stronger demand during the summer than we ever have before as sweet potatoes gain popularity as a summer item.”
Alexandra Rae Molumby, director of marketing for Bako Sweet, adds that sweet potatoes have become more popular in the U.S. in recent years with consumption increasing 50 percent since 2000 - from 4.2 lbs to 6.3 lbs per capita, according to Statista.
Bako sweet potatoes are grown in hotbeds to trap the heat and keep them growing right on time for harvest in the fall.
Putting sweets back into the spotlight
To build on that growing consumption, Bako Sweet will be back at the Organic Produce Summit on July 13-14 in Monterey, California to bring sweet potatoes back into focus with the end of summer and cooler months around the corner.
“We are more focused on organic than conventional, and this show brings out those who want to take advantage of the organic growth and build out their organic program,” says Leyba. “This show gives us an opportunity to engage with retailers who want to work with a partner committed to benefiting their bottom line with custom, value-added SKUs.”
Leyba also appreciates the fact that the show has limited floor space with all exhibitors in the same sized booths. And with research showing that 30 percent of consumers value prepackaged and net weight fruits and vegetables in the produce department (Leyba says consumers are flocking towards packaged produce in all sections of the produce department), Bako Sweet will focus on value-added products to benefit both retailers and shoppers.
With that in mind, Bako Sweet will feature a number of organic value-added pack styles at booth #307. These include its organic sweet potato GIRO mesh bag, which is its number one pack style requested by consumers and is available in a 2 lb., 3 lb. or 5 lb. GIRO bag. Along with that will be its four-count organic sweet potato tray made of recyclable and compostable material, its organic single sweets and 14 oz. organic steam bags with the white, orange and purple variety.