Potatoes for sale at a farmers' market-©Jeff Blackler/Rex Shutterstock

The Potato Council has secured 50% EU funding for a £3.6m joint venture information and promotion campaign to support potatoes in the British and Irish markets.

The three-year Potato Potential programme aims to raise consumer awareness of the versatility and nutritional values of fresh potatoes, with the cash split 78:22 between the Potato Council and the Irish Food Board, Bord Bia.

It will highlight the convenience and versatility of potatoes alongside innovative ways to use them in a busy, modern lifestyle, in a bid to help halt the long-term decline in fresh potato consumption.

See also: More cash to promote potato health benefits

In 1942, average consumption of fresh potatoes in Great Britain was 1.9kg a person a week, but by 2013 it had fallen to just 439g a week.

“This extra funding from the EU gives us the opportunity to increase our marketing activity in promoting the healthy values of potatoes,” said Nick White, head of marketing and corporate affairs for the Potato Council.

“We want to make sure that consumers see them as relevant and desirable; they are fat free, salt free and low in sugar, have fewer calories than pasta and rice and are incredibly versatile. The extra funding will give us a boost and help ensure that consumers are getting the message loud and clear.”

The potato campaign is one of 41 new programmes to promote agricultural products in the EU and to third country markets to be approved.