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Potatoes In The Spotlight At Produce For Better Health Foundation 2022 Consumer Connection Conference

Session developed in partnership with HZPC Americas Corp. and Potato Glory™

March 25, 2022 – Potatoes are Americans’ favorite vegetable. According to Potatoes USA consumer data, nearly three out of four Americans eat potatoes at least once a week. Produce for Better Health Foundation’s (PBH) recent State of the Plate research shows potatoes were the top vegetable eaten more often in recent years, yet overall fruit and vegetable consumption is decreasing. To showcase the many ways potatoes can contribute to a healthful diet and improve consumption trends, PBH, in partnership with HZPC Americas Corp. and Potato Glory™, will host the general education session, Elevating The Perception & Power Of Potatoes, during PBH’s annual Consumer Connection Conference, April 18-20 at the Omni Resort & Spa Montelucia in Scottsdale, Arizona.

In this session,  conference attendees will gain insights regarding specific consumer attitudes and desires as well as value chain strategies to elevate the perception of potatoes and drive greater sales and improve consumption.

“For too long, people have taken potatoes for granted,” said Jeff Scramlin, President, HZPC Americas Corp. “This panel discussion will showcase opportunities to elevate potatoes as the nutrient dense vegetable that they are and differentiate potatoes to highlight variety-specific traits important to culinary professionals as well as home cooks. We are excited to hear what value chain partners can do to sell more potatoes if they make changes to address specific consumer attitudes and desires.”

Panelists include Aron Derbidge, Vice President, Sales, HZPC Americas Corp.; Robert Greenwood, Program Development Manager for Wysocki Family of Companies; Julie Olivarria, Vice President, Produce, Sysco; Desiree Olivero, Manager, Customer Care, Wakefern Food Corporation; and Garrett DiStefano, Director of Residential & Retail Dining Services, UMass Dining; the session will be moderated by Mary Christ Erwin, President, MCE Consulting.

“Potatoes are an extremely versatile and flavorful staple in households across America. They also have been the victim of consumer misinformation when it comes to their dietary attributes and health benefits,” said Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, President & CEO, PBH. “Potatoes have so much to offer, and it’s time they get their rightful place on the plate. This panel will explore new ways to elevate the potato category and challenge us to consider how all value chain stakeholder can play an important role.

The first industry marketing event of the year, PBH’s Consumer Connection Conference will advance the food dialogue and elevate fruit and vegetable consumption to a national priority. Attendees will find inspiration for engaging consumers with daily plant-forward culinary explorations. Multiple networking opportunities will allow attendees to engage in intimate high-caliber conversation with consumer-facing influencers, retailers, culinary leaders and marketers alike.

Critical to the event’s success will be the business insights shared from the stage, empowering the community of stakeholder attendees to put them into action and elevate fruit and vegetable consumption. This year, speakers will take attendees on a deep exploration of the power of habit and how we can harness new consumer behaviors. PBH’s Have A Plant® Ambassadors will address ways to create an inclusive culture through food, among other timely education sessions.

The event will conclude with 1:1 VIP CONNECT appointments where Have A Plant® VIP Influencers will meet with Consumer Connection Conference sponsors to network, learn and collaborate on ways to boost fruit and vegetable consumption through their various channels at the point of sale (retail); the point of flavor (culinary & foodservice); and the point of inspiration (nutrition, lifestyle & agriculture).

Consumer Connection Conference registration is now open. PBH partners can attend for $700 while industry professionals who are not yet partners can attend for $900. To register, visit To learn more about becoming a PBH Partner, contact Sharese Roper, Industry & Partner Engagement Senior Director at [email protected] or (302) 235-1013.