The technical director of Albert Bartlett Potatoes, Paddy Graham Jones, told industry professionals in Invergowrie that sales of fresh potatoes had fallen 2.8% overall in the last 12 months and, while baking potato sales were up 2.6% and new potatoes up 0.2%, main crop sales fell by 4.7%.
Speaking to the Scottish Society for Crop Research (SSCR) potato committee meeting, he suggested variability in the generic “white potato” product was responsible for the fall, and said data collected over the space of seven days had shown a standard 2.5kg supermarket bag of white potatoes could be filled with six different varieties which ranged in dry matter from 13.8% to 19.8%.
“In one week, the potatoes could be wet, and the next week they’re dry – that’s too much variability,” he said. “We need consistency because these varieties will inevitably behave differently when they are cooked.”
Mr Jones also predicted pack sizes would fall in future and said sales of his company’s smallest pack of 500 grams had grown in five years from 4.8% to 7%.