Digging In

Agribusiness management students are working with Sterman Masser Potato Farms to help develop new, convenient potato products.

Sterman Masser Potato Farms, Pennsylvania’s largest potato producer, knows consumers aren’t reaching for 5- and 10-pound bags of raw potatoes like they used to.

Growing its business means adding more new and convenient products, so it’s eyeing a new spot in the grocery store’s produce department: the ready-to-eat, pre-cut fruits and vegetable section.

The national supplier is building upon its history of innovation to solve several problems. For one, cut potato flesh browns in 10 days — a fraction of the shelf-life of a raw, whole potato.

Agribusiness management students at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences are working on finding solutions to that problem, plus the challenge of winning consumers over to a new product.

About 75 Penn State agribusiness students visited the company’s potato distribution facility near Sacramento, Pa., and Keystone Potato Products, in Hegins this fall. Sterman Masser processes potatoes into ready-to-use products like its Side Delights® Steamables™ line of triple-washed and pre-cut potatoes, available in seven varieties and sold in 1.5 pound, microwaveable pouches.

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