The U.S. Potato Board has authored a report seeking to explain why fresh potato sales in stores appear to be declining, though health perceptions about spuds are improving and consumers report eating them more often.
A study by the food trends tracking firm NPD finds the number of in-home meals per capita with fresh potatoes on the plate each year has increased from 40.3 in 2009 to 44.8 in 2012. In-home meals with frozen potatoes increased during that period from 14.4 to 15.8, and instant spuds in meals increased from 7.8 to 8.3.
Another study, conducted by Sterling Rice Group for USPB, found health attitudes about spuds have also improved. In 2009, a quarter of respondents had negative health perceptions about potatoes, compared with 19 percent in 2012.
Fresh potato sales in supermarkets, however, have gradually declined. Sales, which reached 4.595 million pounds in 2003, slipped to 4.013 million pounds by 2009 and totaled 3.619 million pounds in 2011, according to a report Sterling Rice Group prepared for USPB using Nielsen data.
Based on industry interviews and a review of research, USPB believes consumers may simply be wasting less. Dan Ladhoff, USPB retail marketing consultant, said studies show U.S. pantries are becoming emptier as households buy just what they need in the near future.
SOURCE: John O'Connell, Capital Press