Supplies of sweet potatoes continue to be steady in the U.S.
“We were very fortunate to have harvested a beautiful crop at the end of 2019. The supply has remained steady well into 2020 and our growers are currently in the process of planting this year’s crop,” says Rebecca Scott of Nash Produce based in Nashville, NC.
Coming into the 2019 crop was a challenge. Hurricane Florence hit the East Coast during the harvest of the 2018 crop and Scott says it upset the sweet potato supply for many producers last year. “Though we were able to maintain normal distribution to customers,” she says. “Thankfully, weather conditions were relatively favorable during the 2019 crop harvest season, which has been a great benefit for current supply.”
Sweet potatoes and home cooking
Meanwhile demand for sweet potatoes has been up recently. “Especially for families during this unpredictable time due to the COVID-19 presence. With many consumers seeking to limit exposure, they strive to make fewer trips to the grocery store, if not avoiding it completely with the access to online ordering options,” says Scott. “Meals cooked from home over the past few months have increased and consumer demand for sweet potatoes is strong.”
To meet that demand and accommodate sometimes new shopping patterns (such as fewer trips to the grocery store, shopping online solely, etc.) Scott says that Nash also continues to review its packaging options such as tray packs and alternate bagging styles to meet consumer needs.
Meanwhile, pricing on sweet potatoes has remained stable.