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Published June 11, 2012, 07:55 AM

Variety-specific marketing

EDINBURGH, Scotland — If you haven’t heard of Rooster potatoes, Gillian Kynoch wants to change that.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

EDINBURGH, Scotland — If you haven’t heard of Rooster potatoes, Gillian Kynoch wants to change that.

Kynoch is development and innovation director for Albert Bartlett, the United Kingdom’s largest potato seller, which has found marketing success in developing and promoting potatoes for premium and variety-

specific markets.

In 2005 and 2006, the company came first with its Rooster brand, a red-skinned, yellow-fleshed potato. This offers a “floury” potato that is attractive to older consumers who know how to roast them. It is particularly attractive in northern England, Ireland and Scotland.

Younger female consumers farther south in England, want something that is much yellower, probably because it implies it has been buttered, but less butter is needed for the look. “They want something that’s moist and sweet that they don’t have to add things to,” Kynoch said.

Premium potatoes often trade at a 30 percent higher price than standard potatoes, and the price can increase as the potatoes are sold in “four pack bakers” or smaller packages that suggest meals, rather than buying potatoes in large sacks.

“We much more in the U.K. talk about the Albert Bartlett brand, of which there are several sub-brands below that,” Kynoch said. Besides Rooster, Albert Bartlett offered Purple Majesty, in 2010, with purple skin and flesh, high in purple color antioxidants, attractive during Halloween; and also in 2010, Apache, a savory potato with a two-toned yellow-red combination.

They have premium-branded potatoes specific to various super markets. For example, there are Vivaldi and Anya in Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd., chain. There are Marabel potatoes in Asda Stores Ltd., a British supermarket chain and subsidiary of the U.S. Walmart stores. Albert Bartlett also features Elfe in Tesco supermarkets, the biggest supermarket in the U.K. Elfe, launched in 2011, is a smooth, oval-shaped creamy skin potato with bright yellow flesh and a sweet taste.

“All of these varieties are about our breeding programs — looking for what the consumer actually wants, and us pitching something in each bit of those markets.”