Potatoes, America’s Favorite Vegetable

Reporting on Potatoes USA’s Consumer Attitudes & Research study

Published online: May 06, 2019 Articles Kim Breshears, Marketing Programs Director, U.S. Potato Board
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This column appears in the May 2019 issue of Potato Grower.

Understanding the consumer is important to learning what their motivations are and how to stimulate potato consumption. To understand changes in consumers’ opinions of potatoes, Potatoes USA conducts an annual Consumer Attitudes and Usage (A&U) study. The A&U tracks consumers’ self-reported usage of potatoes, current beliefs on health-related topics and overall attitudes toward potatoes. The 2019 study revealed many valuable insights:

What’s Driving Food Purchases?

Flavor, freshness and good value are the top three attributes consumers feel are important when choosing food, remaining consistent from the prior year.

Cooking styles are described as basic, traditional and short-order. Consumers who described their cooking styles as “from scratch” and “creative” declined from the 2018 study by 8 and 5 percent, respectively.

Seventy-nine percent of consumers use recipes when making meals at home.

Meal patterns continue to change, with 48 percent of consumers saying they eat three meals a day, the first time this number has  dipped below 50 percent since the study began.

Potatoes Continue Reign as  Favorite

For the third year in a row, potatoes have been ranked as America’s favorite vegetable, followed by broccoli, tomatoes and corn. This year’s study showed tomatoes increased in popularity.

Seventy-eight percent of consumers report eating potatoes once a week at home, while 72 percent report eating potatoes at least once a month at foodservice. At foodservice, potato dishes were chosen as two of the top three favorite side dishes

Consumers give potatoes high marks for their versatility, being filling and satisfying. They also love potatoes for being a good value, something everyone enjoys, and for their ability to be prepared quickly and easily.

Performance Benefits Being Recognized

Consumers reported increases in the following potato attributes, all showing statistical improvements from the 2018 study:

  • Helps fuel me for my everyday activities, +5 percent
  • Provides sustained energy, +6 percent
  • Good for athletic performance, +7 percent
  • Used and approved by athletes, +10 percent

What Will Make Consumers Eat More Potatoes?

Twenty-seven percent of those surveyed say shorter cook times and ideas for new ways of cooking potatoes would inspire them to make them more often, while 24 percent say they would like ideas for how to prepare them with healthier nutritionals. So why don’t they eat them more often? Thirty-eight percent say they already eat enough, while 25 percent continue to believe they are fattening, and 20 percent say they are high in calories.

A summary of the research can be found on PotatoesUSA.com/growers or by contacting Potatoes USA directly.

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