For the 12 months ending November 30th 2018, the size of Northern Ireland’s retail potato market value has increased by 2.2%, or £ 1.0 million. The latest figures show that the market was valued at £ 44.7 million for the year in question.
According to Wilson’s Country CEO Angus Wilson, this welcome development for the sector can be accounted for by an increase in consumer demand and a moderate rise in prices. “All of the important markers for the potato industry are showing a positive trend at the present time. These include the number of consumers actually buying potatoes,” he said.
The Kantar potato figures show that spend per buyer went up from £ 61.99 to £ 62.33 while spend per trip increased from £ 1.80 to £ 1.82. Total volume of potato sales for 2018 were on a par with the previous year which had risen by 4.3% while the frequency of potato purchases and the volume of potatoes purchased per shopping trip remained reasonably constant. Significantly, potatoes enjoy a 96.9% market penetration in Northern Ireland. This means statistically that 96%-plus of the population buy potatoes at least once in the six month period.
Angus Wilson attributes the rise in demand for potatoes to a number of factors. “These include more people wanting to cook from scratch and the continuing investment by the industry in more consumer-friendly product options.” Meanwhile, the good news from the point of view of local consumers is that there was an almost perfect potato harvest this year. The excellent weather of October and early November allowed growers to get on with their digging operations without interruption. “We operate within a European market. Last year’s drought had a very negative impact on potato yields in many countries with average output down by some 10% to 15%,” Angus Wilson told farminglife.com.