Scott Farms began loading its new North American crop of sweet potatoes three weeks ago. "Sales aren't truly wild yet. There's still Egyptian and Portuguese trade. And we haven't even started with the organic sweet potatoes," says Pablo Fitskie of this International company's European sales office.

"Selling prices started significantly higher than last year. Several U.S. growers began supplying the local market much earlier. We also have a strong presence in that market and are therefore less dependent on exports."

"This year's North American crop looks good, though its sizes should be somewhat smaller. I expect we'll be done harvesting relatively early this year. We won't have a lot of sweet potatoes in the summer. But that all remains to be seen. Last year, it seems everyone got going at the same time, and there was no link to the new crop," Pablo explains.

He says Christmas has little effect on sweet potato sales. "They are, however, becoming more accessible to many consumers."

"Several supermarkets include them in their fresh, refrigerated packs. But there's no boost at Christmas," Pablo continues.

"In America, you do see that at Thanksgiving. Sweet potatoes are, then, as popular as Easter eggs."

"The processing sector is increasingly decisive regarding sweet potato sales," says Fitskie. "That's actually a whole new channel that pays good prices."

"That has quite an impact on total Class I export volumes. Fresh sweet potatoes appear to have peaked nicely, the industry, though, is booming. Many sweet potatoes are being sold as French fries, cubes, wedges, mashed potatoes, or in frozen varieties. We're also going to introduce steam bags in Europe, which we've been marketing in the U.S. for a while now," Pablo concludes.

For more information:
Pablo Fitskie
Scott Farms International
Space K5, 545 ABC Westland
2685 DG, Poeldijk, NL
Tel: +31 (0) 174 232 201
Mob: +31 (0) 614 688 484