Potato sales drop in 2013

Fewer potatoes were bought to eat at home last year, but value sales grew as prices rose, according to the Potato Council.

Spending on fresh potatoes increased 21.5% on the previous year to £1.35bn in the 52 weeks to 8 December 2013, despite volume sales falling 7.9%.

The fresh potato price now stands at 87p/kg – 9.4% higher than this time last year.

Frozen potato spending grew by 9.6% to £715,699, while volume sales dipped by 0.7%.

Potato servings also declined in pubs, restaurants and cafes.

There were 1.72bn potato servings in the year to September 2013, down 7% on the previous 12-month period.

Consumers have been ordering fewer side dishes when eating out as they attempt to keep spending down.

A spokesman from the Potato Council said 2013’s warm summer meant retail consumers had switched to smaller bags of more expensive new potatoes for lighter meals, while there had been fewer cheap promotions since the difficult harvest of 2012.

“The market dynamics are complex with the shift in volume being driven by a range of factors, including the summer heatwave and levels of price promotion,” they said.

“Potatoes grew in popularity over the recession, when shoppers sought good-value staple foods. Recent volumes have dropped to slightly below pre-recession levels.”