In response to the explosive growth and demand for smaller-sized potatoes in smaller-sized bags, MountainKing has acquired a Colorado packing facility in the farm-rich San Luis Valley. The new packing facility will be dedicated exclusively to its fingerlings and new baby versions of MountainKing yellows and reds.
The new MountainKing facility in the south-central Colorado town of Hooper will package baby yellows, baby reds and combination baby medleys in 1.5-lb. see-through mesh bags designed to extend product shelf life and appeal to younger shoppers. Fingerlings will be packed in 1.5- and 5-lb. bags.
In the most recent 52-week reporting period, potato packages sized 4 lbs. and under grew 5 percent in unit sales and 7 percent in dollar sales, according to IRI. Small bags—4 lbs. and under—now account for a quarter of all unit sales scanned. At $606 million, small packages are the second-largest dollar contributor to the category.
Besides operating to market demands, MountainKing’s third Colorado facility allows the Houston, Texas-based company to pack directly from the source while expanding its access to more U.S. markets. The facility also gives Mountain King the ability to combine smaller potatoes on mixer loads from its other Colorado packing sheds.
MountainKing also is establishing a network of LTL options and forward distribution hubs for customers that cannot order full truckloads.
MountainKing was established in 1973, growing traditional russet potatoes. Founder Cary Hoffman began noticing trends in restaurants and understanding what consumers and chefs were looking for regarding fresh produce. It became evident to him that items featured on many restaurant menus would eventually wind up in grocery stores, as customers would request these products.