Bako Sweet® Susan Noritake Discusses Sweet Potato Potential in Lead-Up to Global Produce & Floral Show

Bako Sweet® Susan Noritake Discusses Sweet Potato Potential in Lead-Up to Global Produce & Floral Show

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BAKERSFIELD, CA - My hot take this autumn is that the sweet potato’s star season can kick off as early as Halloween and run all year long. For every occasion, there is a sweet potato. If you don’t believe me, swing by booth #4083 at this year’s Global Produce & Floral Show and ask for Bako Sweet® Director of Sales Susan Noritake to get your display ideas spinning.

Susan Noritake, Director of Sales, Bako Sweet®“We understand the need to inspire impulse buys from shoppers, so we are focused on interest-generating shippers, promotions, and partnerships with retailers that are unique to them as we establish a year-round sweet potato calendar,” Susan explains to me. “Sweet potatoes have proven their potential to be everywhere and everyone’s perfect meal-time solution. We just need to tap into and drive that for all sides to win.”

When Susan says she sees potential in a category to be a dollar driver, the buy-side should listen. Not only was she in the proverbial car that helped drive kiwifruit to become one of the fastest-growing products in the fruit bowl, she has also paid close attention to patterns for other produce wonders over the course of her career.

“I remember when strawberries weren’t a thing; when avocados weren’t a thing; when Brussels sprouts were only steamed. All of these have been discovered as an easy, versatile, delicious option to be more healthy. Sweet potatoes are the perfect ‘next’ item, and I know how much our industry loves to know what is next,” she says with a smile I can hear over the phone.

At this year’s Global Produce & Floral Show, Bako Sweet® will be focusing on interest-generating shippers, promotions, and partnerships with retailers to inspire impulse buys from shoppers

For Bako Sweet’s part, the team is making itself the go-to brand for building your sweet potato category, with value-added retail support and programs, merchandising solutions, and promotions.

So what should retail do?

Retailers should be leaning into our value-added packs. This is what we know consumers want; microwavable packs, single-serve offerings, and quick solutions. Build those displays and cross-merchandise to show shoppers that sweet potatoes can be just as versatile and intuitive as Russets,” Susan advises. “Calling them ‘sweet’ potatoes might convey to savory lovers that this is not for them. That is not the case! Embrace savory-sweet options by putting sweet potatoes next to the bacon or even—my current favorite—oatmeal!”

Yes, we are undeniably in the traditional window where sweet potatoes are the star as we head into holiday preparations. But soon after is health-conscious January, Valentine’s Day sweetness in February, Easter fun in spring…the list goes on, and so can sweet potato appreciation, and thereby its evolution as an emerging everyday go-to.

“There is no reason sweet potatoes shouldn’t be the next avocado toast. Come visit us in Anaheim, California, and find out why,” Susan challenges.

I, for one, am certainly ready to accept.

Bako Sweet®

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