Jersey increases small potatoes sales

Jersey Royal Pearls to be sold through Tesco and Ocado following successful trial held last year.

The Jersey Royal Company is stepping up supplies of its miniature Jersey Royal Pearl Potatoes to British retailers and restaurants this season following a successful trial last year.

Sales manager Trevor Le Maistre told Grower: "They are graded to be small - people perceive smaller potatoes as sweeter. Supplies are quite limited and will drop off through the season. They are very labour-intensive to harvest early in the season."

He said branding potatoes' regional and varietal credentials was becoming important once again. "Older customers remember them and we need to maintain the Jersey Royal identity. There is great brand recognition there, but we can't sit on our laurels," he explained.

He added that the potatoes tied in with modern cooking trends because they were quick and easy.

Jersey Royal Pearls will be sold through Tesco in stores and online and through online grocery retailer Ocado, priced initially at £2.49 for a 330g bag.

Last year, the island exported about 30,000 tonnes of Jersey Royals worth more than £30m, mainly to the UK mainland. The potato won Protected Designation of Origin status in 1996.

The potatoes got a boost last weekend when chef and Jersey resident Shaun Rankin used them on BBC1 television show Saturday Kitchen.

Seasonal report

"We had a -5 degsC frost in February, which affected us more than other growers who would only just be starting planting then. It knocked the crop back a bit but we are now back on track and building up stocks."

Trevor Le Maistre, sales manager, Jersey Royal Company.

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