Across the globe, restaurants are back to operating at normal capacity, borders are opening for tourism, and many consumers are looking for high-quality, nutritious food options, all leading to strong demand for U.S. potatoes, according to Potatoes USA.
The industry body says in a news release today that from July-September 2022, U.S. frozen potato exports were down nearly -4% by volume, but up 13% by value compared to the same three-month period in 2021. The higher value number compared to volume is a commonality across potato exports of all types, reflecting inflation and price increases globally.
Looking at a few markets specifically, frozen shipments decreased to China (-38%), Myanmar (-59%), and Taiwan (-7%). While volume was down overall, there were some increases in frozen shipments to international markets, including Saudi Arabia (+24%) and the United Arab Emirates (+134%).
U.S. fresh potato exports, including table-stock potatoes and chipping potatoes for processing, were also down this quarter in volume by -15% compared to July – September 2021. The value of fresh shipments, however, was up 7%.
Fresh exports were up in some major markets, including Mexico, up nearly 7%. This export number for Mexico includes shipments to the country’s interior now that fresh U.S. potatoes can go beyond the 26-kilometer border region. Fresh exports also increased to the Central American region by over 50% and South Korea by 180%.
U.S. dehydrated potato exports were up 1.4% by volume and 8% by value compared to this quarter in 2021, despite tight supply. Some of the major increases in dehydrated potato shipments were to Malaysia, up 124%, and Thailand, up 61%. Several markets saw decreases in dehydrated potato shipments, including Japan (-29%), South Korea (-50%), and Taiwan (-78%).
While evidence of strong demand for U.S. potato products is coming in from across the globe, many markets report challenges in maintaining a consistent supply of U.S. potatoes.
However, in South Korea, importers report that the U.S. potato supply is stable now, and foodservice operators are looking for promotional support to launch new menu items with U.S. potatoes. In Myanmar, the foodservice and retail sectors are back to operating as usual. Importers in Myanmar reported that many foodservice operators have returned to using 100% U.S. potatoes at their restaurants.
Source: Potatoes USA