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)
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
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