Fresh potato sales fall as snacks do crisp trade

Sales of fresh potatoes fell by 8.3% in the year to 5 January, to 1.47m tonnes – but a sharp rise in retail prices meant overall expenditure increased by 18.3%, to £1.3bn.

“Over the latest 12-week period, price inflation has slowed and volume decline has started to retract,” said a report by the Potato Council. “However, in the latest four-week period, volume sales declined 7.3% year-on-year, despite strong promotional activity.

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This resulted in a 4% decline in sales value over the Christmas period.”

Pre-pack maincrop potatoes accounted for 63% of volumes. Economy sales continued to drop, while King Edwards and Reds enjoyed excellent market penetration.

Frozen potato sales dropped by 1% in volume over the past year, to 490,087t – but total expenditure increased by 9.3% to £720m. Sales of chilled potatoes fell by 3.8%, to 54,594t.

Canned potatoes bucked the trend, with volumes increasing by 19.1% to 18,558t, as prices dropped by 19.6%, according to figures from Kantar WorldPanel.

Crisp sales fell by 1% over the year, to 134,692t, with expenditure rising by 2.3% to £939m. “Savoury snacks continue to perform well, making volume gains of 5.5% over the year.”

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