Scottish Potatoes Hit U.S. Shelves at Wal-Mart

CHICAGO, Oct. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Scottish potato producer, Albert Bartlett, announced plans on Sunday to target growth in the U.S. market, after partnering with supermarket giant Wal-Mart to supply its Rooster brand of potatoes.

The deal by Airdrie-based Albert Bartlett – which employs 700 full time staff in Scotland with further outreach to farmers and distributors around the UK – is the company's first in the US market and will see the Albert Bartlett Rooster range being stocked in selected stores across Colorado and Georgia from October before being rolled out to stores in multiple states in 2013.

The company announced details of the launch while taking part in a Scottish Development International trade mission to Chicago, led by the First Minister Alex Salmond and Scottish Enterprise Chief Executive Lena Wilson.

"It is inspiring to see a long-standing, traditional Scottish company develop so confidently and dramatically in today's market, where Scottish food and drink exports are booming. The Albert Bartlett Rooster brand deal with Wal-Mart is another example of a quality Scottish product being made available for all to enjoy," said the First Minister.

John Hicks, VP Sales and Marketing, Albert Bartlett USA, remarked: "This is a very exciting time for Albert Bartlett; we have been working on the project for over four years, having received fantastic support from Wal-Mart. We are now excited to see how the Wal-Mart consumer responds and are confident that we can gain a strong and loyal following as we have done in the UK."

To which Scott Dray, Director, Produce-Wal-Mart, said: "It is always exciting to bring our customers something new, unique and quality, we have been excited by the Albert Bartlett product since first trying it in the UK. The taste profile of the product is fantastic and we are confident that if we can get our customers to try it once they will come back for more."

In preparation for launching into the US market, Albert Bartlett first introduced tissue culture from Scotland to North America back in 2008 and has been multiplying the seed of the Rooster variety over the past four years.

Albert Bartlett's innovative approach, which in effect has seen them export their intellectual property, enables them to produce the product in the US with local farmers and packers, bringing benefit to local economies.

Working with their US partner MountainKing and other leading local US farmers, the company carried out extensive growing trials across the USA and based on the results focused initial production in Colorado and Idaho. Next year, the company plans to extend distribution across the US as it multiplies crop production and introduces new growing areas including California, Oregon and Washington.

Albert Bartlett opened its first US office in Denver earlier this year to manage the launch and expansion of their activity in North America. The company is one of 11 companies participating in the trade mission to the US which aims to raise the profile of Scottish food and drink companies in the US.

"We've seen phenomenal growth of Scottish food and drink exports with 60% growth over the past five years," says Danny Cusick, President, Americas, Scottish Development International. "The US continues to be one of the biggest markets for Scottish companies - overall food and drink exports to the US increased by 30% last year, with strong growth in the premium grocery market."

Scottish Development International has supported Albert Bartlett in its international growth plans for several years, including helping them access new customers through attendance at a major international trade show. SDI will continue to work closely with Albert Bartlett both in Scotland and overseas, to support their continued international growth.

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SOURCE Scottish Development International