U.S. potato growers have something to be very proud of. That is that the “fruits of their labor” are the most popular vegetable in the nation.
Potatoes USA Chief Marketing Officer, Kim Brashears says, it’s why everyone in the potato industry loves what they do. “People love potatoes. Potatoes are America’s favorite vegetable. We know that because we do a survey every year where we ask consumers, of the top 20 most sold vegetables, what are your favorites? And for the last six years, potatoes have been on the top of that list.”
The second favorite vegetable is broccoli according to Brashears; “In our tracking, broccoli used to be America’s favorite vegetable. However, six years ago the data switched where potatoes have risen to that top and the gap is growing.”
And that popularity in restaurants, Brashears says continues to grow. “Yeah, potato sales at food service last year increased 12 percent from the year before. 12 percent is a pretty sizeable increase. Now we definitely lost some sales during the COVID era when restaurants were shut down. But they’re rebounding and there’s no indication the rebound isn’t going to continue.”
That’s not to say, there aren’t concerns; “Now inflation will be something that we’ll all have to pay close attention to, but we haven’t seen anything in the data thus far that shows a softening of consumer spending at food service. There is a market there. There is no indication that consumers are not going to continue to want to put potatoes on their plate and enjoy them. So, the market is here, and I would encourage growers to seriously consider ensuring that they continue to produce the product.”
Through June, total potato sales increased 5.7 percent in value and 4.4 percent by volume over the year before.