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Robust surge in U.S. potato sales: Across-the-board growth for all potato categories

In a promising start to the year, the U.S. retail market for potatoes experienced a significant uptick, with sales volumes increasing by 5.6% in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period in the previous year. Dollar sales also saw a healthy rise of 4.4%, reaching nearly $4.6 billion, according to a recent report from Potatoes USA.

Across-the-Board Growth for Potato Categories

The growth was uniform across all potato categories, reflecting a robust demand from consumers. Fresh potatoes led the charge with a notable 7.6% increase in volume sales, complemented by a modest 0.6% rise in dollar sales. Frozen potatoes enjoyed a 10.5% surge in dollar sales, despite a smaller 3.3% increase in volume. The chip segment also performed well, with dollar sales up by 3.3% and volume sales by 1.7%.

Among the various categories, deli-prepared sides and fresh potatoes recorded the highest sales volume increases at 7.8% and 7.6%, respectively, underscoring their popularity among consumers.

Fresh Potatoes: A Detailed Breakdown

Fresh potatoes alone accounted for nearly $1.1 billion in dollar sales, marking a 0.6% rise from the previous year. This growth was driven by increases in almost all types of potatoes, except for red and white varieties, which saw declines of 3.3% and 3.1%, respectively. Notably, purple potatoes led the way with an 18.9% surge in sales volume, followed by medley potatoes (11.5%), yellow potatoes (11.2%), and russet potatoes (10.8%). The significance of these increases is amplified considering that russet and yellow potatoes together constitute 79% of the fresh potato volume sales.

Shifts in Pack Sizes

A noteworthy trend in the report was the shift in consumer preference towards smaller pack sizes. All pack sizes under 10 pounds saw increases in both volume and dollar sales, with 8-pound bags experiencing the largest volume increase at 25.5%, followed by 10-pound bags (9.1%), 5-pound bags (8%), bags under 2 pounds (7.6%), and 2-4 pound bags (4.2%).

However, larger pack sizes faced declines. Bags greater than 10 pounds saw a significant 25.8% drop in volume sales, with a corresponding 36.8% decrease in dollar sales. Even 10-pound bags faced a 5.9% decline in dollar sales.

Industry Insights

These figures, compiled by Circana (IRI) through direct collaboration with retailers, highlight a strong consumer demand for potatoes in the U.S. market. The uniform growth across all categories and shifts in pack size preferences provide valuable insights for producers and retailers aiming to align their strategies with current market trends.

As the potato industry continues to evolve, these insights will be crucial for stakeholders to understand consumer behavior and optimize their offerings. With the first quarter of 2024 setting a positive tone, the industry looks forward to sustained growth and innovation in the months to come.

Source: Potatoes USA
Cover image: Credit Potatoes USA

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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