Exclusive: The Frozen Potato Category Is Getting Bolder
Swiss Rösti is a recently released line of unique products on the U.S. market – shredded potatoes filled with vegetables and cheeses, then baked to crispiness, that are available in three options. The new offerings draw their origins from 1800s Swiss specialties. The producing company also named Swiss Rösti is a start-up based in Portland, Oregon, which is active in the frozen potato products sector.
The brand has partnered with Oregon’s State University’s Food Innovation Center on the development of the new product range in a bid to satisfy consumer demand for convenient, great-tasting and approachable foods that fit well in today’s busy active lifestyles.
To find out more about the startup, but also about the Swiss Rösti product lineup, Potato Business recently sat down with the company’s co-founder Steve Caldwell, who encountered the dish for the first time while traveling abroad and decided he had to bring it to America.
What does the new launch bring to the U.S. market?
There has never been a filled potato like our Rösti on the market until now. The choices to date have been all the usual suspects: French fries, tots, hash browns. There is now a crispy, filled option that will continue to surprise and delight.
What can you tell us about the importance of clean-label food products?
Being that the potato is the star of the Rösti range, we use only premium U.S. grown potatoes, so we are already 80% there, while clean label is concerned. Our products are naturally gluten-free too. Clean label means that the rest of our ingredients are, at a minimum, names you can pronounce, and all are non-GMO and every 2.5oz serving is 100 calories or less.
What are some of the trends when it comes to potato products consumption you have noticed recently?
Sweet potatoes have really come into play as a rich addition to this space. We plan to be looking for sweet potatoes as part of our next flavor profiles soon. Outside of this, what we see are simply more hand-held options like our products. However, Rösti is truly a first to market, a category creator and disruptor that is spreading quickly across the country.
If there would be one thing you would like to see improved in the industry you are part of, what would that be?
What we would like to see is more press about the health benefits of potatoes in order to educate the public on how potatoes are real food for real performance.
Your portfolio is currently made up only of Swiss Rösti products. Do you have any plans to expand beyond this category in the near future?
Absolutely! We have a utility and design patent filing on a filled potato. This gives us the protection to be able to create flavor profiles crossing all culinary borders! With the potato as the vehicle, we have infinite possibilities! Customers should be looking for Rösti’s filled with proteins soon. This will open up even more opportunities, including options such as All-American bacon cheeseburger, Croque Monsieur gruyere & black forest ham, Bacon Jalapeno popper, poutine, plant-based, and more.
A major question today is – to GMO or not to GMO? Where do you stand in regard to this debate?
We have a unique situation whereas everything we use is non-GMO. We don’t have to worry simply because of our simple but creative approach to all of our flavors.
Do you have any plans to expand beyond the borders of the U.S.?
Yes, we do! We are already in talks with a European company that will be releasing our products to over 131 countries in 2020. That’s all I can say for now!
Can you offer some insight into the production process of your Swiss Rösti products?
We have the capabilities of producing over 1 million Rösti per 8-hour shift. We have recently partnered with a company that produces our Rösti in a brand new, 150,000 sqft. facility holding organic, USDA as well as other certifications.