UK potato market value up 6.4% in year to May 2008

Demand for potato growers' crops remains strong as sales of potatoes, crisps, chips and other potato products have all increased since last year.

Communications director Ed Garner of data monitor TNS Worldpanel revealed at the Potato Council's East Midlands Potato Day, held last week in Spalding, Lincolnshire, that year-on-year figures for May show that the value of the UK's potato market has risen by 6.4 per cent - or £60m.

Sales during this time reached £995.5m (compared to £936m last year) with the majority of these sales - £737m - taken up by white potatoes. Some £75m of those sales were of red potatoes while £97m were of Maris Piper, £43m of King Edward and the remainder made of up "economy" varieties.

Sales of economy potatoes dropped by 36.5 per cent - or £8.5m - during this period.

The crisps market also increased - rising by 6.5 per cent or £39.1m from May 2007 to May 2008.

This, Garner said, was in part thanks to promotions such as Walkers' "field-to-crisp" campaigns that highlight how the crisps are made from British spuds.

Sales of chips also grew. Oven chips were up by 10.7 per cent, or £21.4m, while other potato products (such as potato waffles) were up by 10.6 per cent, or £19.9m.

Garner said that the change was partly due to a more holistic attitude to dieting.

He said: "We are starting to believe that 'healthier' food means that we don't have to change our diet to manage our weight."

He added that more people are focusing on "living better" rather than just "looking better".

Fewer people are regularly taking exercise, actively controlling the fat in their diet or going on fat-reducing diets, he said.


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