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GB Potatoes: Retail and consumer demand

The retail and foodservice markets are key drivers for the GB industry. Within foodservice 3.2bn dishes containing potatoes were served in the year ending June 2019. Scroll down to additional information section for further dashboards and commentary.

Retail market

Versatility is viewed by consumers as the biggest strength of fresh potatoes, followed by their taste and low cost. Potatoes are also viewed as a better source of carbohydrate and fibre over other carbohydrates including sweet potatoes, pasta and rice. Over three quarters claim that potatoes are part of a healthy diet.

Potatoes remain the second most commonly consumed carbohydrate, with over 8 in 10 consumers claiming to have eaten fresh potatoes and 3 in 10 claiming to have eaten processed in the last two months. Despite this, the largest off-putting factor for potatoes is pack size being unsuitable for consumers requirements, followed by potatoes being too heavy to carry home. (Sources: AHDB/YouGov Aug -19)

The total volume of fresh potatoes sold stayed relatively stable on the year for the 52 weeks to 11 August 2019 (+0.2%), while value rose by 1.0%.

In the last 52 week period, frozen potato volumes rose by 2.2% on the year, with volume and value growth for both frozen chips and frozen potato products. Chilled potatoes continued to fall, driven by a fall in household penetration and purchase frequency.

Snacks have seen mixed movement over the last 52 week period. Crisps declined in volume (-6.2%) and value (-1.0%), driven by a fall in volume purchased per trip. Frequency of crisps purchasing has also fallen. Potato snacks however, grew by 7.6% in volume.

Additional information

Total volume sales of fresh potatoes remained flat on the year to 11 August 2019, while spend rose by 1.2%.

Total bread volume sales fell by 3.5% over the same period, while spend fell by 0.7%.

Total potato spend in the year to August 2019 is 4.6% higher than the same period in 2015, but only 1.2% higher than the year to August 2018.

Dishes containing potatoes were served 3.2bn times in the year ending June 2019 – down by 3.2% on the previous year. 89% of potato servings are consumed in Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) and Full-service establishments though in both channels servings declined, driven by pubs, fast-food outlets and independent diners. The number of side dishes ordered by consumers is declining which is impacting potato performance.

Chips, wedges and fries make up 60% of potato servings out of home, accounting for the lion’s share of both value and volume. However, two common host meals (burgers and steaks) went into decline over the year to June 2019, which may help to explain servings losses for chips/wedges/fries (-1.8% year-on-year).

The only type of potato dish to increase servings was the hash brown (+0.8%). Crisps performed particularly poorly – down by 12.1% in servings, struggling particularly in QSR and Leisure & Travel channels.