Agri Food news

Northern Ireland sees resurgence in potato consumption

From left, Stuart Meredith, agronomist, Wilson's Country, with growers Jonny Moore and his father Alistair.

Latest Kantar figures suggest Northern Ireland’s potato packing sector has grown by 3.9% over the past year in terms of total turnover. However, while most key parameters including frequency of purchase and volumes purchased per retail visit are up, prices have fallen.

“The average price of potatoes in the shops has fallen over the past 12 months,” said Lewis Cunningham, managing director, Wilson’s Country. “The Kantar survey confirms an average price per kilo of 82p for the 52-week period ending June 30, 2020. This represents a 4.2% reduction on the previous 12 months.”

Potato sales in Northern Ireland for the past year totalled £50.83m, representing a 3.9% increase on the previous 12 months. Sales volumes increased by 8.5% during the same, period, exceeding 60,000 tonnes.

“Individual purchase volumes increased by 6.4% over the past year totalling 85.4kg,” said Cunningham. “Potatoes now enjoy a 97.6% retail penetration in Northern Ireland. That’s up 1.4% on 2019 levels. All of these trends point to a very positive story for the local potato sector.

“They also confirm the growing consumption of potatoes in homes. Significantly, these trends became apparent before the introduction of the Covid-19 lockdown.

“We saw the expected, seasonal boost in potato consumption at Christmas time 2019. However, this momentum was maintained into the New Year. There’s also little doubt that the lockdown measures have encouraged more people to cook at home more frequently, across the board.”

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