Demand is so high for U.S. potatoes that the industry cannot keep up, several speakers said during the Washington-Oregon Potato Conference, according to a report published by Capital Press.
“We’ve put a lot of processing plants in, but we’re still losing market share,” said Blair Richardson, CEO for Potatoes USA.
The U.S. industry used to have more than 50% of international sales of frozen potato products, but is now about 23%.
“It’s not because we can’t do it, but we didn’t invest in our infrastructure for many years,” Richardson said. “That’s changing, we’re doing it now, on the processing side specifically. … The potential for this industry is growing.”
U.S. potato exports and imports have both increased by 53% in the last 10 years. Fresh potatoes are entering the U.S. from Canada, the European Union and China because the U.S. is not able to supply full domestic demand.
U.S. potato exports have increased 121% over the last 20 years, primarily driven by frozen potato products.