‘Potato Council’s One Voice campaign is fast gaining momentum, with people from all sectors of industry getting involved and doing whatever they can to help spread positive messages about potatoes.
The initiative, which was launched at BP2013 in November last year, calls on industry to work together to communicate positive messages about potatoes; namely that they are healthy, sustainable, versatile, affordable and an important contributor to the economy.
The target audiences are:
Shoppers – showing them that potatoes are a healthy choice and worth paying a little more for
Schools – teaching the next generation of shoppers that potatoes are healthy and easy to cook
Policy makers – ensuring MPs understand that as well as being a healthy affordable food, potatoes are sustainable and contribute significantly to the economy
The media – to ensure widespread coverage of positive messages about potatoes
Showing support for the One Voice campaign can be done in a number of ways. It can be as simple as passing on a potato recipe or displaying a ‘Natural Goodness’ car sticker, or it could involve visiting a school taking part in the GYOP project or meeting with a local MP to explain the health and sustainability credentials of potatoes.
As a responsible, family-owned food manufacturer, McCain Foods pledged support for ‘One Voice’, by getting involved in the Grow Your Own Potatoes (GYOP) project, to help children understand where potatoes come from and how they fit into a healthy, balanced diet.
Corporate Affairs Manager for McCain Foods, Andra Stan, said: “McCain supports One Voice in a number of ways. We’ve donated seed to local schools taking part in the Grow Your Own Potatoes scheme, and have invited MPs to grow their own potatoes before visiting schools in their constituencies to see how their crops fare against local pupils.
“We’ve also shared information about the scheme with our retail buyers who’ve received their own kit – so they can see the initiative in action. We’ve also introduced the project to our UK growers through our newsletter.”
Internally, McCain challenged employees across their UK manufacturing sites to grow their own potatoes as part of an internal competition to see which department had the most success. Progress is frequently reported on through McCain’s corporate social media activity to spur on competition.
Seed supplier, WCF Horticulture has also been positively promoting potatoes through a range of dedicated activities and events. Horticulture buyer for the company John Marshall said: “I regularly visit local schools and give talks to children about the health benefits of potatoes. I ask the youngsters what their favourite potato dishes are, then work backwards from plate through shop to the field, demonstrating how they grow and showing how different varieties are used for different types of cooking. I’ve also attended “Potato Days” extolling positive potato messages to a much broader audience, ranging in age from two to 96!”
He added: “I’ve been working hard to put potatoes on the map too; a ‘Historic Scotland’ plaque was recently unveiled by six local primary school pupils in Auchtermuchty, in honour of Archibald Findlay – a pioneer of the potato industry. In support of the event and prior to the unveiling, I gave an illustrated talk on Findlay’s life and work, while the local community centre hosted a potato tasting event and served up several potato dishes using Findlay’s famous Majestic variety. The day was a great way to educate people about the history of potatoes and celebrate the success of a great potato breeder. The story was picked up by the local press which was a great way to boost the profile of the potato.”
Caroline Evans, Potato Council’s head of marketing and corporate affairs, said: “As McCain Foods and WCF Horticulture have both demonstrated, there are many ways to support the ‘One Voice’ campaign. By uniting as an industry and speaking with ‘One Voice’ to spread clear, simple and consistent messages about our crop, potatoes will increasingly be seen as a good food by shoppers, politicians and the media alike, ensuring they remain a staple on British plates.”