IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Have you walked down the instant potato aisle of the grocery store lately?
There's a new product on the shelf that's only been there since March.
Idaho Spuds Veggie Mash is marketed in a bright blue sky and green potato field picture that really catches the eye.
Turns out the instant mashed potatoes are processed in Blackfoot and Shelley at Basic American Foods.
Karole Honas called the company and asked who had come up with this sneaky idea of putting cauliflower and broccoli in mashed potatoes? Tori O'Neal and Jack Patrick take the credit.
O'Neal is a graduate of Boise State University.
"I majored in political science," she explains.
What? How does one go from poli sci to instant mashed potatoes?
"I started doing all kinds of interviews after I graduated to get experience. I landed a job at Bolthouse Farms in California. There I started making juices and healthy salad dressings. I got a call from Basic American and got the job-creating new things to do with potatoes. Since I was raised in the Pahsimeroi Valley in Custer County in a ranching family, well, meat and potatoes go hand in hand, so there you go."
O'Neal says she and a team started brainstorming about new ideas for instant mashed potatoes. She says there were three tenants.
"First, we wanted to make them healthier. More guilt-free. Second, We wanted to use 'stealth.' You know, sneak some vegetables in for the kids. And third, we wanted a product that was quick, but would pass the husband taste test," says O'Neal with a smile.
Coming up next?
"Maybe something with bacon."