Demand continues to grow for sweet potatoes marketed by Rocky Mount, N.C.-based Sand Candy Produce LLC – a partnership formed in 2021 by Bland Farms LLC, Battleboro Produce, Boyette Brothers Produce LLC, and Sandyland Produce – said Troy Bland, CEO of Bland Farms.
“Quality has been excellent this season, and the Sand Candy partnership continues to grow,” he said. “What’s really exciting is the increased interest from various sources, retailers, and foodservice.”
Holidays are of course central to Sand Candy’s success, as they are for all sweet potato shippers. Sand Candy’s holiday bin is “always a huge success,” Bland said - a great way for retailers to display not only sweet potatoes but also sweet onions and other consumer fall favorites.
But Sand Candy is also focused on boosting sales no matter what the season, Bland said. The company’s eye-catching packaging and its promotions support the sale of sweet potatoes for its retail partners year-round, he said.
There are other things retailers can do to boost sales year-round, he said. Promoting sweet potatoes’ value proposition, for instance, is crucial.
“With increasing food costs, sweet potatoes remain an affordable and healthy pantry staple,” Bland said. “Allocating size and space gives shoppers more opportunities, and promoting sweet potatoes on social media and in-store recipe cards to inspire customers to cook with sweet potatoes.”
Sweet potatoes are having a “moment,” Bland said. The more consumers learn about the nutritionally dense superfood, the more they incorporate them into their everyday diets.
Sweet potatoes have many benefits–they’re a great source of healthy carbs, Vitamins A, C, B6, manganese, and potassium. They boost immunity, give skin a glow, are great for gut health, and are loaded with beta-carotene which helps lower inflammation.
Another boon for the category: people are finding more ways to include them in meals, from slicing and baking them to adding them to salads and acai bowls.
In fact, Consumer demand is expected to grow at 5.5% CAGR through 2028, according to Data Bridge Market Research cited by Bland.
Sand Candy has been doing its part by working hard “behind the scenes” to drive its new brand, Bland said.
In October, the company rolled out new packaging, which has proved to be a great way to keep sweet potatoes on customers’ radars year-round.
“Because our Sand Candy brand has a modern, fresh feel, it grabs customers’ attention,” Bland said.
The company has many packing options available for its customers’ merchandising needs. And as the Sand Candy label gains traction in the marketplace, the company is quickly gaining brand recognition.
“It’s exciting,” Bland said. “Last year we were packing in members’ brands. This year we will pack in the Sand Candy brand and still have members’ brands available on request.”
The whole idea of the Sand Candy partnership, Bland said, was to provide the individual shippers’ customers with a secure and consistent supply of sweet potatoes and ensure fresher products for a more extended period, thanks to its diversified growing areas in two states.
“Having farms in North Carolina and Georgia helps us mitigate those costs more than most of our competitors,” Bland said.
In addition, Sand Candy adds value by offering programs that combine sweet potato and sweet onion deliveries on the same truck to lower costs and increase delivery frequencies.