Potandon: Pioneering the Future of Fresh Produce

Potandon: Pioneering the Future of Fresh Produce Main Photo

28 Mar 2024

The agriculture industry is rapidly adapting to global complexities, including food security, environmental sustainability, and the evolving dietary preferences of a growing population. Technology, like precision agriculture and artificial intelligence, continues to be a game-changer, with farmers and companies leveraging sensors, drones, satellite imagery, and data analytics to monitor crop health, soil conditions, and water usage. These capabilities allow for increased efficiencies and reduced waste and environmental impact. 

One of those companies has an office here in Grapevine. And it is perhaps one of the most recognized names in fresh produce: Potandon. With its headquarters firmly rooted in Idaho, the company’s storied journey from regional supplier to national powerhouse in the agribusiness sector mirrors the evolution and trends of the entire industry. 

The Growth of Potandon

In 1995, a group of employees from The Pillsbury Company pooled their resources to buy the rights to Green Giant® from Pillsbury. When the offer was accepted, Potandon Produce LLC was formed, its name a combination of its core business areas – POTatoes AND ONions. 

From its inception, the company’s mission has centered around supplying high-quality, fresh potatoes and onions to markets across North America. Potandon quickly developed a network of co-packers and innovative packaging to complement their emerging product line. In the early 2000s, they launched Klondike Rose® potatoes, a new fresh potato category that served as a catalyst for future expansion. The Klondike Goldust® yellow potato, which has grown to be recognized as the best yellow potato in North America, followed shortly thereafter. 

Today, Potandon has production areas in ten states and two Canadian provinces that roll a wide variety of potatoes onto the market, including russet, red, yellow, mini, and specialty varieties, many of which it holds exclusive rights to. It has also expanded into value-added products, like CarbSmartTM Yellow Potatoes and smash-in-a-bag Minute MashersTM, which offer consumers convenient and healthy options that cater to evolving dietary preferences and lifestyles. 

From Idaho to Grapevine

Though Potandon’s home is in the potato mecca of Idaho Falls, leaders felt the need to establish an office somewhere in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Grapevine offered the most fertile soil for both business and talent recruitment.

“We want an office in a major market in the Central U.S.,” said Mel Davenport, chief executive officer of Potandon. The office serves as the company’s executive, product development, and sales development hub. “Being in Grapevine gives us the ability to recruit high-quality talent to the company.”

“The fresh potato market in general is flat and the overall demand for russet potatoes is shrinking,” said Davenport. “However, the demand for yellow potatoes is increasing. And customers want more health-oriented, convenient, and diverse products, including smaller pack sizes and a wider variety of potatoes.” 

Potandon is set to introduce new value-added products, anticipating and shaping future consumer trends. The company’s variety development program is looking ten years down the road and developing potatoes for the future consumer based on extensive research. It’s also using plenty of transformative technology to improve its operations and innovate its products. 

“We’re using AI in our value-added product packing facility to help manage the technical aspects of newer packaging equipment,” said Davenport. “It helps us keep our operations streamlined and our quality high.”

Potandon remains at the forefront of the agribusiness sector, pioneering advancements in fresh produce supply while staying true to its dedication to quality, innovation, and sustainability. And even as the company continues to navigate the complexities of the agricultural industry, customers can be certain that they’re getting the freshest, safest, and highest quality produce available. 

Grapevine is Growing the Talent Pipeline of the Future

As part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Grapevine offers access to a labor pool of over four million motivated professionals – 31.2% of whom have a bachelor’s degree or higher – allowing companies to hire workers at all skill levels. And here at Grapevine Economic Development, we’re here to help you find your way.

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