September | October 2021

3 Nov 2021

1. Executive foreword 

Potato Nation went all out during Heart Awareness Month (September) to share the nutritional aspects of potatoes that enable them to be part of a balanced heart-healthy diet. This was also the time to brag about potatoes’ unparalleled nutrient dense properties for managing cardiovascular disease. Yes, the most significant statement ever pronounced from a health and nutrition perspective, is the proud endorsement of potatoes by the Heart & Stroke Foundation of South Africa.

When one considers that 225 South Africans are killed by heart disease every day – and that 80% of heart disease and strokes can be prevented – the role of potatoes in in a heart healthy diet is of chief importance. It was, therefore, befitting to undertake a massive digital, media and public relations awareness campaign in honour of the pulse of Mzansi’s favourite vegetable.

October saw the spud kingdom revering over the taste, versatility and convenience of potatoes! As in September, October thrilled our digital users with exciting competitions, polls, recipes and more. We even had the privilege of exhibiting and presenting at the South African Women’s Agricultural Union (SAWAU)’s Congress, in honour of their 90th birthday, themed to “honour the past, celebrate the present and embrace the future.

This e-newsletter edition features growth and embodies the seasonal changes encapsulated by the essence of spring. It shows blossoming endeavours with fellow potato-lovers through radio and television ads, but goes a step further to showcase the findings of an in-depth online qualitative and quantitative study to connect with viewer and listener perceptions, opinions and recommendations on how we can dig our roots even deeper to resonate all the more with our invaluable consumers.

Yours in potatoes,

Immaculate Zinde,
Potatoes SA: Marketing Manager

2. Letter from the editor

Things don’t just happen. While some may seem intuitive, like the seemingly innate desire to nibble on a slap chip, bite through an oven-baked potato or unwrap a tuber parcel dish; for the most part, there’s a reason behind it all. Likewise, South Africans know why potatoes are the nation’s most loved vegetable. Sure, the taste, versatility, convenience – and bang for the buck – may be the seemingly obvious motivations, but there’s so much more!

Potatoes care. This is not just a far-fetched sweeping statement, but one that speaks to their essence in feeding the nation with nutritious satiety, uplifting the economy through job creation and even being kind to the elements when one looks at the water usage of spud plantations compared to several popular starches. The comfort of a simple jacket potato can express love in ways that merge cultural delicacies and modernity. Potatoes enhance vegan diets and work just as well as an accompaniment to traditional spring dishes.

Potatoes are that which they are – and there’s no shortage of words in expressing how deeply #weheartpotatoes. They are the love language that humans throughout the world understand – and this edition’s featured foodie shares her favourite potato-inspired spring dish, before we delve into the pantry to find competitively priced core ingredients to turn them into flourishing food video treats. Once again, showcasing that potatoes have a seat at all tables – and the heart to pull it off!

Your spud,

Phindiwe Nkosi
Potatoes SA: Marketing Specialist

3. Foodie Feature

A picture is said to be worth a thousand words. However, at times, a thousand words are not enough to do justice to the golden goodness of spuds. It is at such a time that Potato Nation reached out to Rikki Hibbert, renowned food photographer and accomplished food stylist, to grow the spudtacular kingdom’s photo library, in a proudly South African way, that voices what no words could ever narrate.

Potato Nation caught up with Rikki for this exclusive interview, to find out her views on this super spud, favourite potato dish, and all the smashing things that make up this spudnificant queen!

Potato Nation (PN): What’s your favourite spring potato dish?
Rikki Hibbert (RH): My favourite spring potato dish is sumac potatoes and cucumber salad. This salad is light, flavourful and very easy to prepare. The potatoes are spiced with sumac, and then oven-roasted, added to chopped crunchy cucumber and dressed with a fresh mint, lemon and paprika dressing. It’s the perfect braai salad!

PN: How did you end up collaborating with Potato Nation?
RH: I’ve been working with Potato Nation since 2014, and over the years, I’ve created hundreds of potato themed styled photographs, including a variety of images for recipe development and the humble potato in every imaginable shape and form! I love working with Potato Nation as they give me the freedom to be creative, conceptual, and trust my vision.

PN: What sets your work apart from others?
RH: I think my attention to detail sets my work apart from others. I love the process of setting up a shot and styling the elements to enhance the subject matter to make it the “hero” and then fine-tuning the lighting to create a mood that works with the styling. Sometimes props or background elements are moved dozens of times until I’m happy that everything looks natural but still intentional.

PN: Any last thoughts?
RH: Potatoes are so versatile! Not only can they be used in savoury or sweet dishes, hot or cold meals, they also make pretty indoor plants and potato stamps to entertain little kids!

PN: How can our readers get hold of you?
RH: I’m available on Instagram (@rikkihibbert),  Facebook (@RikkiHibbertPhotography) and via email.

4. Potatoes are key to solving SA malnutrition challenges

As South Africa joined in celebrating World Food Day on 16 October, the spotlight was thrust on the growing triple burden of malnutrition facing vulnerable households – especially given rising food insecurity and the loss of livelihoods in the wake of the pandemic.

“Already a significant challenge amidst the local context of high unemployment and poverty levels, this triple burden of malnutrition refers to the three concurrent threats of undernutrition, overnutrition or obesity, and hidden hunger – or micronutrient deficiencies arising from factors such as a poor diet,” says Claire Julsing-Strydom, a registered dietitian.

However, Julsing-Strydom notes that against this backdrop, potatoes have emerged as a crucial ally for combatting malnutrition, achieving more sustainable and equitable food systems in the country, and for uplifting households through providing income and employment opportunities.

“First, when cooked correctly and with skins on, this highly economical staple food offers several nutritional benefits compared to other starches,” she says. Importantly, potatoes offer a natural, unprocessed source of complex carbohydrates for sustained energy, and contain a host of important vitamins and minerals which are vital in combatting undernutrition and nutritional deficiencies. These include potassium, vitamins B1, B3 and B6, chromium, niacin, folate, copper, iodine, iron, phosphorous, manganese, magnesium, zinc and calcium. A single 150g skin-on potato even provides nearly half an adult’s recommended daily amount of vitamin C.

Finally, it is important to note that South Africa’s potato industry stands out as a major economic contributor, employing some 60,000 thousand temporary and permanent farmworkers around the country, many of whom are low-skilled workers. The industry is also a significant economic contributor that generates some R8 billion at the primary sector or direct production level, and a further R25 billion at the secondary or manufacturing level, concludes Immaculate Zinde, Marketing Manager at Potatoes South Africa.

5. TV and radio ad research findings

Radio Ad (English, Metro FM

by Potatoes South Africa

Radio Ad (Afrikaans, RSG)

by Potatoes South Africa

Potatoes South Africa’s marketing division engaged in a rigorous study to gauge its most recent television and radio commercials’ awareness, perceptions, as well as areas of improvement using extensive qualitative and quantitative research. Future learnings and areas of improvement were also be extracted.

The qualitative exploration set out to provide an in-depth understanding and consumer needs. The qualitative methodology and approach incorporated a sample of 8 online focus groups on Microsoft Teams. The online focus groups were thorough, incorporating predominantly Black (for SABC 1 and Metro FM) and White, Coloureds and Indians (for SABC 2 and RSG). The age brackets of the respondents were a representation from 25 to 34, 35 to 49, with only one 50 to 64 group. The participants’ household income ranged from R5 000 to R15 000 – and R15 001 and above.

Quantitative research was undertaken on an online MzansiVoice panel survey to test advert resonance. For the quantitative aspect of the study, a sample of 150 respondents was used. Television viewers needed to watch SABC 1 or SABC 2, and radio listeners had to listen to Metro FM or RSG.

The television ads garnered overall positive reactions, with a slight skew towards the advert that ended with a potato salad (instead of slap chips). The respondents conceded that both ads acknowledged potatoes, farming, and were seen as proudly South African. Attributes such as health, versatility and diversity resounded after viewing the ads. Respondents emphasised that the ads fostered a positive call to action to support local vendors, appreciation of farmers, and the depiction of the process potatoes take to reach consumers. 

The feelings were predominantly positive when it came to the radio ads, with all ads deemed appealing for different reasons. The respondents alleged that the ads encouraged a positive call-to-action, particularly when it came to showcasing the versatility, health, and appreciation of farmers. The tagline “gesondheid uit die grond uit” (goodness of the earth), was said to be believable, trustworthy and memorable. Something to look into was possibly making the ads shorter, as the message potrayed did not need lengthy motivations. 

6. Ask an expert


What is cardiovascular disease – and where do potatoes fit in?

7. Video recipes

Chicken livers and baby potato bake

If this dish could talk, it would say #AmazambaneAyavaya

Chilli mince and mash

Watch how we did it!

Creamy potato mushroom bake

We know you want to know how we made this. Watch and learn!

8. Spudding roots at the South African Women Agricultural Union Congress

Potato Nation showed up, exhibited and presented at the South African Women Agricultural Union (SAWAU) Congress held on 28 October 2021 at Saint George’s Hotel and Conference Centre. What made this event even more memorable was that it took place on the organisation’s 90th birthday! Since October 1931, SAWAU has strived to link women across cultural borders around the country and has provided training towards the development of women.

Potato Nation attended the congress, which was themed: “Honor the past, celebrate virtues and embrace the future”. It is uplifting to see organisations that inspire women and marginalised groups to stand up, get equipped and be empowered to arise! Women – like potatoes – form the backbone of communities, and events such as these raise the horn of women in agriculture. Potato Nation was well received, and it was uplifting to see an exchange of potato inspired recipes with members – many of whom are senior citizens, eager to share family recipes that were passed down from one generation to the other, and now with the extended royal potato tribe.

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