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Unearthing Opportunities in Fresh Potato Retail Sales

While fresh potatoes are the number three seller in produce department dollar sales, retail analysts suggest there is still substantial opportunity for growth. To help grocers seize potatoes’ full potential, Potatoes USA has released a new educational series filled with fresh data and actionable recommendations.

“Fresh potatoes are the number one selling vegetable accounting for more than 10% of all vegetable sales, but this is not their ceiling of opportunity,” said Anne-Marie Roerink, founder of 210 Analytics, LLC. “There are pockets of opportunity throughout the fresh potato category retailers can leverage to drive renewed pound growth.”

To help retailers capitalize on fresh potato sales opportunities, Potatoes USA has created the “Powered by Potatoes” education series. Individuals can register here to access:

  • The 30-minute “Unearthing Opportunities in Fresh Potato Sales at Retail” webinar, featuring Roerink and Potatoes USA’s Director of Marketing Marissa Stein featuring exclusive retail data to help unlock opportunities in the produce department.
  • An ongoing email education program with tips to bring the webinar’s suggestions to life.

Among the series’ recommendations:

Win with the Big Sellers and Capitalize on Growth

Russet potatoes generate more than 50% of fresh potato sales — a must-win performer to cement solid potato sales. But it is important to capitalize on growth drivers as well. In 2023, yellow potatoes surpassed reds as the second largest seller with a 6.7%-pound increase in 2023. This variety shows strong volume and dollar gains.

“When it comes to capitalizing on the power of the potato, best-in-class retailers have a wide assortment that centers on Russet, yellow and reds and rounds out with smaller and mixed varieties.,” Roerink said. “Pound growth in the current marketplace is remarkable, so consider giving extra emphasis to marketing yellow, as they are trending strong now. Our data finds success in yellow across the board in bag/pack sizes and in bulk.”

Growth in Smaller Quantities

The 5-pound bags are the potato mainstay and represent 51% of fresh potato pound sales. However, smaller pack sizes are seeing steady growth. Roerink noted the smaller 1-<2-lb. And 2-4 lb. packs grew the most last year and now represent 12% of pound sales. Meanwhile, the larger 8-lb., 10-lb. and 10+ lb. packs have lost ground.

There are several reasons for smaller pack sizes to have outperformed last year, including potatoes’ above-average inflation in the first half of the year, core households becoming smaller and consumers paying attention to preventing food waste at home as a chief way to save money,” she explained. “Consider a wide array of pack sizes when it comes to growing sales, including smaller.”

Look to Opportunity Households

Potatoes are loved by all with an 85% household penetration and few demographic differences in household purchasing statistics.

“Potato households spend $40 per year on fresh potatoes, but some spend far more and others spend far less,” Roerink said. “The difference lies in trips per year. Boomers – especially male boomers – and large households with teens purchase potatoes far more often. They are locked in.”

“We encourage retailers to also look to ‘opportunity households’ who do buy potatoes, but far less often,” she added. “These include one-person, Asian and Gen Z households.”

For more data, insights and inspiration, retailers can sign up today for the education series.

About Potatoes USA

Potatoes USA is the national marketing and promotion board representing U.S. growers and importers. Potatoes USA, the largest vegetable commodity board, was established in 1971 by potato farmers to promote the benefits of eating potatoes. For more information on Potatoes USA’s mission to “Strengthen Demand for Potatoes,” visit PotatoGoodness.com.

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