Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Business Food Safety
Potato industry hears about trends, growth


January 14, 2013
By Press release

Topics

January 14, 2013, Las Vegas, NV – Recent consumer potato consumption trends point to significant growth opportunities for the U.S. potato industry, according to new research unveiled recently at Potato Expo 2013.

The research, conducted by Datassential, a food industry market research firm, and sponsored by Bayer CropScience, shows that nearly half (43 per cent) of consumers surveyed report they increased their potato consumption last year. Forty-six per cent report eating potatoes several times per week at home or away from home, with 14 per cent eating potatoes daily or more than once a day.

These and other insights were released by Datassential director Maeve Webster. Late last year, the firm fielded proprietary research into trends impacting potato consumption on behalf of the National Potato Council (NPC) and Bayer CropScience. Bayer CropScience is teaming up with the council to provide tools and support that will help potato growers and others within the industry improve their business by understanding and connecting with key stakeholders, such as consumers and food-industry operators.

Advertisment

According to the research, consumers most often eat fries (57 per cent), followed by mashed potatoes (42 per cent) and baked potatoes (37 per cent). In the future, consumers expect to order more baked potatoes when dining out (33 per cent), followed by orders of fries, sweet potato fries and oven roasted/baked sweet potatoes, all at 30 per cent.

“It’s clear that consumers like potatoes; however, to a large degree, potatoes have been left behind in all the innovation in the food-service industry,” Webster said. “Potatoes can work well in a variety of ethnic dishes, and their popularity with consumers and potential profit margins should make them extremely appealing to operators. This research and other trends we’ve been tracking indicate a significant opportunity for potato growers and processors to help reignite the industry’s passion for potatoes by working more closely with operators to create consumer demand.”

In restaurants, consumers would like to see potatoes more often as a side plated with an entrée (65 per cent). Other areas for growth on the menu include as a main ingredient in appetizers (46 per cent), as an à la carte side (44 per cent) or as an ingredient in beef entrees and in breakfast entrees, both at 43 per cent.

Research also shows opportunities to increase consumption by using potato descriptors to pique consumer interest, with consumers indicating a strong preference (60 per cent) for the term “locally sourced.”

Food-service operators indicated the potato items most likely to be added to menus include sweet potato fries (17 per cent), baked sweet potatoes (16 per cent) and mashed sweet potatoes (15 per cent). Items already offered that are most likely to have an increased presence on menus were oven baked/roasted potatoes (36 per cent), baked potatoes (33 per cent) and regular fries (30 per cent).

Webster’s presentation at Potato Expo 2013, the annual gathering of the U.S. potato industry, followed another Bayer CropScience-sponsored event – social media training for the potato industry and a panel discussion by growers who use social media to enhance relationships and drive sales.