Based on an analysis of the potatoes and potato products sold at retail and foodservice--and accounting for the volume of U.S. exports and imports--there was a 5 percent decline in the utilization of potatoes grown in the U.S. during the July 2019 – June 2020 marketing year (MY20).
Despite the 9 percent increase in sales through retail, the decline occurred due to the 13 percent decrease in sales to the foodservice sector and two percent decrease in exports. In terms of utilization of the U.S. crop, the decline was further compounded by a 7 percent increase in imports. It is important to note that this decline occurred at the end of the marketing year. Sales to foodservice, retail and exports were up for the July–December 2019 period.
The foodservice factor
Foodservice sales have been accounting for a greater and greater share of total potato sales in the U.S., peaking at 58 percent in marketing year 2019. This upward trend was reversed in MY20, with the foodservice share dropping to 53 percent of the total.
For the marketing year, retail sales were up 8.7 percent, an increase of 1.3 million pounds. From a percentage perspective, frozen and dehydrated saw the largest growth, both with an increase of more than 15 percent. Potato chips, the largest volume category at retail, increased by 5.5 percent and fresh was up by 9.5 percent for the marketing year. Within fresh sales, Russets increased by 10 percent, yellows increased by 13 percent and whites increased by 16 percent. The only decline was for reds, which were down 5 percent due to supply issues.
The impact of COVID restrictions was uneven, impacting limited-service restaurants the least. Therefore, frozen sales were only down 10 percent. However, since full-service restaurants suffered a much greater decline in sales, fresh potato sales to foodservice were down by 19 percent.
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