This post is sponsored by Idahoan Foods.
More than half of shoppers (55%) said they are eating at home more often since the pandemic began, according to an Acosta report released in September. With such a stark increase in how often consumers are preparing their own food, cooking fatigue is setting in. Shoppers are looking for more convenient options that are healthy and tasty to feed themselves and their families at home. Heat-and-eat pouches can fit the bill for meals that are simple to prepare and are perfect to have on hand in the pantry. In fact, heat-and-eat pouches have been on the rise this year, with data from earlier in 2020 showing 29% more households had purchased them compared to the previous year. Over the past five years, the heat-and-eat pouch market has grown 56%, according to IRI data, driven by popularity among millennial consumers and young families.
Sales of fresh and shelf-stable sweet potatoes are also on the rise due to their nutritional profile and versatile flavor, but there are surprisingly few options for those seeking convenient sweet potato products on the shelf. Idahoan Foods is now seizing the opportunity to improve the options available to shoppers with its Honest Earth Mashed Sweet Potatoes — a first-to-market product that puts the popular comfort food in a convenient heat-and-eat pouch.
“Families across the country have come to rely on Idahoan for high-quality potato products that make mealtime easier,” said Drew Facer, president and CEO of Idahoan Foods. “We are extremely excited to bring those same promises of quality and convenience to kitchens everywhere with sweet potatoes under our Honest Earth brand.
Sales of packaged sweet potatoes have grown since last year, according to IRI data, which shows packaged sweet potatoes represented a $245 million category at retail as of February, and Idahoan Foods projects this category will grow further in the coming year with its offering. Additionally, the fresh category showed a slower rate of growth year-over-year than the packaged sweet potatoes category when compared to 2019 figures.
Prior to the launch of Honest Earth Mashed Sweet Potatoes, the only shelf-stable sweet potato offerings in grocery were canned products that often come in “candied” chunks packaged in a corn syrup mixture, which doesn’t contribute to the flavor or texture of the end product or stack up to what many consumers are looking for on ingredient labels. At the same time, fresh sweet potatoes can be time consuming to prepare and are less appealing to those grappling with kitchen fatigue during recent months.
To solve these problems, Idahoan developed Honest Earth Mashed Sweet Potatoes in a pouch with a clean ingredient list free from artificial flavors, colors and preservatives. The product is a first for the company in two ways — its first sweet potato offering and its first heat-and-eat format product — but the company made sure it still embodied its core values of offering convenience without sacrificing quality.
The addition of brown sugar, butter and a touch of vanilla make the sweet potatoes ready to eat right out of the package, or they can also be a starting point for other dishes. Cooking the sweet potatoes with chicken broth and spices transforms them into a sweet potato soup, or consumers can play up their sweetness by using them as the base to a batch of sweet potato waffles with a berry topping.
Beyond its focus on quality ingredients and taste on the inside, the heat-and-eat pouch offers consumers several benefits over canned versions, particularly when it comes to prep, cooking and clean-up times. The product can be microwaved directly in the pouch and is ready to serve in 60 seconds.
Idahoan also had stock-up shoppers in mind when it launched the product — the lighter weight and slim shape makes pouches more pantry-friendly than cans, and consumers can find the product at club stores including BJ’s Wholesale locations across the US and select Costco Wholesale stores across the West. The products are also available via the brand’s direct-to-consumer website, appealing to the influx of consumers who have started to use e-commerce for grocery items.
Visit Idahoan’s website to learn more about Honest Earth Mashed Sweet Potatoes.