By FWi staff

CO-ORDINATED promotion of early potatoes worked so well this season that the British Potato Council has given the green light to over £1 million of generic advertising over the next year.

£600,000 was spent on advertisements for the first time during the widely watched GMTV programme in June, and helped boost awareness of British new potatoes from 57% to 69%.

“We dont claim TV advertisements were the sole reason for the improved early season,” said BPC chairman David Walker. But when the industry met last autumn to plan an early potato recovery, TV ads were felt essential to attract supermarket interest.

Marketing manager Nigel Jupe has no doubt supermarkets took British earlies several days earlier as a result. “For the first time, I believe we took market share from Jersey Royals.”

Average prices up from £73.50/t last year to £151.60/t saw early grower returns rise 80%, estimates the BPC. Jersey Royal imports down from 57,000 to 35,000 tonnes helped, but wet weather during early potato sales in June and the swing to convenience foods during the world cup did not.

The BPC will now spend £500,000 of levy money on Sunday colour supplement maincrop ads this November, under the heading “British potatoes – You cant beat em.”

The £600,000 spring TV campaign will run again next year, plus a “Chip Week” in February, “Snack Month” in September and a more strongly branded “New Potato Weekend” in May.

“Weve made real ground this year. Now we need to build on that with a consistent quality product,” added a BPC spokesman. “There are discussions within the industry about the merits of an early potato quality standard.”

  • Potato market trends