US retail potato sales increased last quarter

Retail potato sales increased by 2.6% in dollar value and 1.1% in volume in the July-September quarter, the first of the marketing year. Potatoes USA reported volume increases for chips, frozen and refrigerated potatoes. Dehydrated and canned potatoes, and deli-prepared sides, declined in sales value. Deli dropped slightly in volume.

Fresh-potato sales dropped slightly while dollar value rose. Reds dropped in volume and value. Russet volume increased, but that variety was down in sales value as prices fell slightly. Sales and volume totals rose for yellow, white and medley fresh potatoes. Idaho produces nearly one-third of all U.S. potatoes.

“There is no category in produce by weight that sells more at retail than potatoes,” Idaho Potato Commission Retail Vice President Seth Pemsler said. “It’s a very important category to the retail industry.” He said the big fresh category remains healthy.

Total fresh tonnage sold has dropped slightly in recent years “as the trend goes from larger bag sizes, such as the 10-pound, to smaller sizes such as the five- and four-pound bags,” Pemsler said. Smaller family sizes nationwide, and increased demand for different potato varieties and amounts in meals, are among factors.

The refrigerated-potato category has been growing “consistent with demand for convenience,” he said. “However, it is still a small category by comparison to fresh.” Rising convenience-based demand also has helped sales of frozen products, Pemsler said.

Single-quarter statistics can vary significantly from a year earlier depending on retailer promotional activity, and suppliers’ product launches or expansions, he said.

Retail potato sales Marketing Year Q1 (July-September)

Total sales

Dollar value up 2.6% to $2,969,512,695

Volume up 1.1% to $1,633,742,007 pounds

Price per pound $1.82 compared to $1.79 a year earlier


Category sales
Chips                                    Dollar value up 2.5% to $1,543,297,859
                                               Volume up 2.6% to 1,307,389,963

Fresh                                    Dollar value up 2% to $690,264,196
                                               Volume down 0.3% to 888,405,617

Frozen                                 Dollar value up 3.7% to $382,275,489
                                               Volume up 3.6% to 493,107,424

Refrigerated                         Dollar value up 7.3% to $131,241,712
                                               Volume up 5.6% to 112,083,530

Dehydrated                          Dollar value up 2.7% to $114,092,508
                                               Volume down 2.1% to 190,079,038

Canned                                Dollar value up 0.5% to $10,486,770       
                                               Volume down 1.3% to 11,883,053

Deli-prepared                      Dollar value down 1% to $97,854,161
                                               Volume down 1.9% to 28,821,051



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