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Following six years of unprecedented growth of Idaho potatoes into international markets, the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) has hired Amanda Albers as its first international marketing manager while also establishing new offices in Mexico, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
The main objective of the Eagle-based commission’s expanded international division will be to mine opportunities in foreign markets and provide assistance to Idaho potato shippers wishing to export fresh potatoes overseas.
U.S. fresh potato exports have reached an all-time high of $150 million dollars annually, and that number is expected to increase rapidly over the next several years. With Idaho being the largest potato-producing state in the country, it’s more critical than ever that the IPC provide resources to Idaho shippers to help them capitalize on the growing worldwide demand for fresh potatoes. Today, through concerted efforts, Idaho commands 33 percent of the Mexican potato market and exports fresh potatoes to Canada, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and Central America.
“Our attention and focus on international has allowed Idaho shippers and processors to expand their business beyond historical borders,” said Seth Pemsler, VP, retail/international for the IPC. “With the addition of Amanda and her extensive international trade experience at the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) and our partners overseas, the IPC will be able to further increase its presence in the international trade market, ultimately increasing sales and margin for the entire Idaho potato industry.”
Working out of the Eagle office, Albers will be responsible for continuing growth of Idaho potato exports in core markets like Mexico and Central America, and developing opportunities for the famous potato in emerging countries like Russia, South Korea and China. Prior to joining the IPC, Albers organized and coordinated international consumer promotions such as buying missions, trade show pavilions and governors' trade missions to help increase export opportunities for Idaho food and agriculture businesses.
The IPC representatives based in Mexico, Hong Kong and Malaysia will serve as the agents for Idaho potatoes in their respective markets by identifying opportunities and developing trading partners for Idaho shippers; develop and execute promotional programs in conjunction with the IPC, and provide ongoing marketing support to overseas retailers and foodservice operators; and provide market research and assistance with import/export rules and regulations.