Potato sales rise to 2.2m tonnes amid AHDB campaign success

UK shoppers bought 3% more fresh potatoes this year compared to 2015, according to the latest data analysis.

The figures for the last 12 months are equally encouraging, as Kantar Worldpanel report that a total of 2.2 million tonnes were sold in the last 12 months.

This is a result of:

  • Total 2018 potato sales: Up 1.8%;
  • Fresh potato sales 2018: Up 1.4%;
  • Frozen potato sales: Up 1.1%;
  • Crisp sales: Up 3.1%.

During the same period, AHDB has run its ‘Potatoes: More than a bit on the side’ marketing campaign. The three-year promotion was funded by the EU and run jointly with Bord Bia in Ireland

Dr. Rob Clayton, strategy director at AHDB Potatoes, said: “These retail figures will be welcome news to farmers who have long been worried about falling sales.

We hope they show that the work we have put into spreading all the good nutritional news about potatoes – like the fact that they are fat-free, gluten-free and low in sugar – is beginning to take hold.

“We have also invested in social media influencers so that shoppers can see their peers cooking with potatoes in ways that fit their lifestyle.

“Health is important, but enjoyment is the main reason that we buy food. Potatoes are tasty, convenient and affordable so it’s no surprise we’ve had a good reaction to the campaign.”

5 million web views

Independent analysis of AHDB’s campaign, which has generated over five million web views at lovepotatoes.co.uk and nearly a 100 million reach on social media, shows that those who have seen it are more likely to see potatoes as a healthy, essential part of the diet, than previously.

Dr. Clayton added: “Through the tracking work that we carry out, we have seen a shift in the way people view potatoes.

82% of consumers agreed that ‘potatoes are healthy’, up from a base of 68%, three-quarters agreeing that they are an essential part of any diet, up from 60%, and 72% acknowledging the fact that potatoes are fat-free, up from 55%.

“Versatility is still a key benefit for potatoes, with 92% agreeing that they are a versatile product.”

Meanwhile, two major universities have completed research into the nutritional benefits of the potato in recent months and have underlined their value to our health.

A recent University of Surrey study reported that potatoes are an important source of micronutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, folate, and iron and contribute a significant amount of fibre to the diet.

This vitamin content and that the fact they keep you fuller for longer means the may be more effective for weight control than other carbohydrates said the researchers.

This follows a study by the James Hutton Institute, from 2017 that drew similar positive conclusions on potato health benefits.