Consumers, Fresh/ Table, New Zealand, Australia, Promotion/Marketing, Retail, Trends

‘Nutritious, versatile and even sexy’: Western Australian potato farmers take on low-carb diets

Potato growers in Western Australia have joined an international campaign to tackle a decline in spud consumption driven by the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets.

The campaign, engineered by the International Potato Centre, invites people to “imagine the world without potatoes”, a dystopia that the Potato Growers Association of WA is trying to avoid.

Potato consumption has been declining in Australia, with sharper falls for fresh potatoes than frozen pre-packaged potatoes.

The campaign, which has been adopted in 25 countries, “encourages consumers to rediscover the potato and its importance in their lives”,“strengthen a bond that has been somewhat lost” and “increase the tuber’s visibility”.

Or, as the chief executive of the Potato Growers Association, Simon Moltoni, told the ABC, it will remind people “about how versatile, nutritious and even sexy potatoes can be”.

The new campaign builds on the existing “Todatoes” campaign (tagline: “potatoes aren’t just for Sundays”) established in the wake of the deregulation of the WA potato industry in 2016.

That reform removed the strict quota system which had been in place since the 1930s and sparked successive court cases between the potato regulator and the state’s largest grower, Tony Galati. The resulting oversupply is one of the problems now facing the industry, which was already dealing with a drop in demand caused by the predominance of low-carb diets in global wellness trends.

It’s a challenge potato growers have been grappling with for the past 20 years. Australia does not have a national potato marketing strategy, the Big Potato notwithstanding.

“Initially it was felt that it was a case of rice and pasta taking a larger market share, and I think in more recent years it is about keto and paleo diets and people being concerned about carbohydrates,” Potato Growers Association project manager Georgia Thomas told Guardian Australia. “It has been sweet potato taking a lot of the market share.”

Potatoes, she added, are “not necessarily” higher in carbs than sweet potatoes. “There’s nothing wrong with vegetables that have carbs in them,” she said.

Report by The Guardian, published here

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse

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