Online sales of fresh potatoes online

In the latest Consumer Category Report of the Potato Council (May 2015), one of the topics addressed is the online sales of fresh potatoes - including growth, comparison to competitive products and future opportunities

The online grocery market in the UK was estimated to have been worth £7.5 billion in 2014, following year-on-year growth of 14.9% (Mintel, 2015).

This represents 5.1% of all grocery sales, compared with 2.8% five years ago. It’s set to be one of the fastest growing channels for grocery over the coming years as retailers improve their offering.

The share of fresh potatoes sold online is almost identical to the total grocery average and it could, therefore, be assumed that potatoes will continue to grow at the same rate as is predicted for total online.

However, the balance of products is shifted online and named varieties such as Maris Piper and King Edward account for a larger proportion of fresh potato sales online than in store.

A greater proportion of the main competitor carbohydrates (pasta, rice and noodles) are sold online – in the last year, 10% of dry pasta went through this channel. It is products with a long shelf life and product consistency that tend to benefit from the online channel and, clearly, this is a strength over fresh potatoes.

Potatoes appear to sit between the main advantage and disadvantage (above). While the bulkiness of a prepacked bag of potatoes could lend itself well to online shopping, not being able to choose products in person is a particular issue with fresh produce.

Retailers have been addressing this issue but it still remains at the forefront of consumers’ minds – the Mintel survey found that 59% of respondents would like more options to specify how they like their fresh foods.


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