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Retailers partner with Michigan Potatoes for free groceries campaign

In order to promote and help raise awareness of locally grown potatoes, the Michigan Potato Industry Commission is partnering with SpartanNash stores and other Michigan retailers in giving away free groceries for a month to some lucky spud lovers.

Due in part to a nearly $100,000 USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant, the MPIC, along with SpartanNash, created 90 Michigan Potatoes-branded orchard bins that will be featured in produce sections all over the state. In addition, 4.6 million branded Kwik Lok tags will be on potato bags with the Free Groceries For A Month campaign to identify Michigan potatoes.ORCHARD-BIN

“The orchard bins are only in Michigan SpartanNash stores; the tags will appear on bags distributed to SpartanNash, Meijer, Walmart, some Kroger, Aldi, and some smaller stores,” Nate Chesher, marketing manager at MPIC, told The Produce News.

“The promotion is two-fold, promoted in retail and a digital campaign — social media mostly. On the retail side, consumers will see the orchard bins and select a bag of Michigan potatoes. The hope is that they will see the tag promotion and go to the landing page where they can enter to win. And in order to help consumers make the connection to the farm, they can choose to sign up for our newsletter and submit the code on the Kwik Lok to our potato tracker where they can learn about the farmer who grew their potatoes.”

Anyone that enters the contest will have the chance to win a $400 Visa gift card and there will be one winner announced each month. The promotion began in January and runs throughout 2019, so there will be 12 winners in total.

“The orchard bins will remain in stores for a few years most likely,” said Chesher. “We’re looking into ways to redo the tags next year.”

Over 1.7 billion pounds of potatoes are harvested in Michigan annually, grown on more than 47,000 acres by approximately 90 potato growers — most of which are multi-generational family farms. The potato industry contributes $1.24 billion to Michigan’s annual economy, including more than 3,000 jobs in potato production and processing. And about 70 percent of the potatoes grown in Michigan are used to produce potato chips.

The Michigan Potato Industry Commission was formed in 1970 by the Michigan legislature as the state’s potato research, promotion, and educational organization. The commission members, appointed by the governor, are charged to use the funds assessed on growers and shippers of Michigan potatoes to promote an economically viable potato industry in Michigan.

“We encourage Michigan Potatoes fans to visit our new consumer-facing website at www.mipotato.com and to follow us on social media at www.Facebook.com/michiganpotatoes,” Chesher added. “We produce a lot of great content, including recipe videos and grower profiles.” And, of course, you could also possibly win free groceries for a month.