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tackling tattie targets

Putting potatoes back on the Scottish plate

Potato growers, retailers, health experts, politicians and Scottish Government representatives came together recently for a roundtable discussion to look at how they can work together to increase the number of potatoes on Scottish plates.

Held at the Scottish Parliament, the event was hosted by Claire Baker MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment and supported by Potato Council. The event aimed to facilitate an expert discussion on the importance of increasing potato consumption in Scotland as part of a nutritionally balanced diet within the context of the public health challenges currently facing Scotland. As well as produce a focused set of recommendations on how best local and national government as well as retailers and relevant bodies can work with and support the industry to achieve this.

Caroline Evans, Potato Council’s head of marketing and corporate affairs was one of the speakers at the event: “Potatoes are an important crop for Great Britain contributing £4.7bn to the UK economy and in Scotland they contribute £209m in seed exports alone. The roundtable was an opportunity to show that potatoes are an important contributor economically, environmentally and also to public health.”

Professor Haggarty, head of lifelong health from the Rowett Institution of Nutrition and Health, explained the significant public health challenge faced by the Scottish population in terms of obesity and chronic disease. He said: “Potatoes are a relatively inexpensive source of nutrition that could help to tackle health inequalities resulting from poor diet. Yet, despite these attributes, the consumption of potatoes in Scotland has gone down in recent years and more should be done to reverse this.

The discussion focused on recommendations to increase potato consumption in Scotland from sharing research into consumer behaviour to advocating the nutritional benefits of potatoes. This included agreement that changing consumer needs should be met with affordable cooking methods and the right varieties. It was felt there were many more opportunities to support potatoes as part of the health agenda and promote them as a sustainable Scottish product.

Caroline Evans concluded: “The roundtable was an opportunity to raise the importance of the potato and engage a range of experts to discussion how to increase consumption. This is the start of work in this area and will provide a platform to present the evidence on the value of the potato industry to the economy, the health agenda and climate change targets. We hope that all those involved with the industry in Scotland will work together to deliver these messages to policy makers and help us make sure that potatoes remain a firm fixture on Scottish plates.”

A summary report has been submitted to Claire Baker MSP, who will submit it to Scottish Government. The report can be viewed at

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