Industry groups work together to boost Scotland's potato consumption

Potato growers, retailers, health experts, politicians and the Scottish Government are working together to develop ways to increase the number of potatoes that are eaten in Scotland.

Potato consumption north of the border has gone down during the past few years despite the fact that they are an inexpensive and sustainable food source and they contribute to the nation's health and economy.

A roundtable discussion on this issue was held earlier this autumn at the Scottish Parliament, hosted by Claire Baker MSP.

Greenvale chief executive Angus Armstong, who attended the discussion, revealed that the event "provided a useful forum to help us understand what some of the challenges facing consumption are in Scotland and, more importantly, what we may be able to do to address them".

Professor Paul Haggarty, head of lifelong health at the Rowett Institution of Nutrition & Health, pointed out at the roundtable discussion that the Scottish population is facing significant health challenges, including obesity and chronic disease.

The panel agreed that more information on the nutritional benefit of potatoes needs to be shared, as does more information on consumer behaviour. Changing consumer needs should also be met with affordable cooking methods and the right varieties.

Potato Council head of marketing and corporate affairs Caroline Evans said: "This is the start of work in this area and will provide a platform to present the evidence on the value of the potato industry to the economy, the health agenda and climate change targets.

"We hope that all those involved with the industry in Scotland will work together to deliver these messages to policy makers and help us make sure that potatoes remain a firm fixture on Scottish plates."

Ways to increase potato consumption will be further discussed at BP 2013 taking place at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate on 27-28 November. For details, see www.bp2013.co.uk.


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