Dry Beans, Sugar and Potatoes


March 31, 2005 - William A Knudson and H Christopher Peterson, The Hale Group,Technical Advisors

Executive Summary

This rapid opportunity assessment will analyze various opportunities for three field crops: dry beans, potatoes and sugar. While not large in terms of acreage these crops remain important cash crops in the region. They also face challenges to that place their future in jeopardy. This is particularly true for sugar, but is also true for dry beans and potatoes as well. One issue facing these crops is the fact that they are used as inputs in other processed food products. This reduces the control producers have in determining prices and limits their ability to generate new products. In order to take full advantage of
market opportunities farmers and firms may need to work collaboratively. Farmers and firms will have to work together to develop supply chains that allow them to develop products consumers want.

One economic force and three demographic forces are critically affecting the agrifood system. The economic force is the slow but steady growing affluence of U.S. society. More and more U.S. households now have increasing amounts of discretionary income. The three demographic forces are smaller households, an aging population, and a more ethnically diverse population. While these demographic forces are distinct, they
often reinforce their impacts on the agri-food system. This is particularly true for smaller households and the aging population.

These societal changes have led to the development of several drivers in food demand. These demand drivers are as follows: an increased demand for wellness, an increased interest in ethnic foods, indulgence as an attribute, and an increased demand for convenience. Another attribute of food products, value, is not a new trend but remains an important consideration for many consumers.


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