Potatoes levy spend: marketing, education and exports

Helping British potato growers to grow.

Thanks to our marketing campaigns 12% more consumers agree potatoes are healthy and 17% more recognise potatoes are fat-free than in 2015.

We have worked with the governments of Egypt, Morocco, Thailand, Canary Islands and Israel our top five destinations, which account for 70% of seed export trade, to ensure these markets and customers retain confidence in UK seed post-Brexit.

And we’ve helped over 5 million children learn where their food comes from since 2005 through our Grow Your Own Potatoes project in primary schools.

See also:

How your levy funds market information and EU exit analysis

Potatoes: what do I get for my levy?

Podcast (AUDIO): What do I get for my levy?

Consumer marketing campaigns

Promoting potatoes as versatile, tasty, and convenient

12% more people see potatoes as healthy thanks to our campaigns

Potatoes: more than a bit on the side (2015-2018)

For 14 consecutive years, before the launch of our 2015 marketing campaign Potatoes: More than a bit on the side, potato consumption was declining ~3% each year. Consumption increased during each of the three years of the campaign.

  • We delivered health messages on fibre, potassium, B vitamins and freedom from fat
  • Gains of 12% more consumers agreeing potatoes are healthy and 17% more recognising potatoes are fat-free
  • We reached millions of consumers via our dedicated consumer marketing website lovepotatoes.co.uk and social media accounts on FacebookYouTubeInstagram and Twitter
  • The budget for this campaign was 2.3 million euro which was doubled up by EU funding match to 4.6 million

Reassuring young consumers that potatoes are a healthy and nutritional food choice 

Ordinary food is good enough (Launched in January 2020)

With so many mixed messages in the media about food, nutrition and diets, it is easy to get confused and follow guidance from unqualified sources. 

These messages are magnified through social media and can have damaging effects on our physical and mental welfare. Many of us strive to look like others or follow extreme diets which often aren’t realistic and can instead have detrimental effects on health due to a lack of key nutrients.

Reaching over 5 million consumers using social media and TV advertising 

Summer lockdown campaign (May-July 2020)

Our campaign was revived this year to ensure potatoes stayed front and centre while people had more time at home. We even ran our advertising on catch-up TV for the first time, as ads played on ITV hub during Britain's got Talent and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. We saw:

  • 1.3m video views
  • Posters outside supermarkets seen more than half a millions times
  • 50,000 people clicking through to our lovepotatoes.co.uk website

See the full results of our potato consumer marketing campaign during the coronavirus lockdown.


Promoting jacket potatoes with a targeted approach

Launching February 2021 with new creative designs

We’re working on a new campaign, continuing our response to the impact of Covid-19. Our research has identified the ‘Hot Filling Lunch’ as a key in-home opportunity for potatoes. This is due in large to the rise in people working from home, a culture that is likely to continue well into 2021, and the increase in recessionary spending behaviours as a result of the pandemic.

We will launch the campaign in February with a budget of £150,000 – it will all be about making use of the excellent evidence our consumer insight team generates.

The health conscious will be told about the nutritional benefits of the potato, while those who need to feed a growing family on a budget will be reminded of the convenience baked potatoes can provide at a pocket-friendly price. Making use of all the great features of potatoes:

  •  versatility
  • health and taste
  • cost, convenience and sustainability

Read more about our new campaign

a plate of food

Reputational support, website and social media

PR activity in association with the Food Advisory Board (FAB)

Providing reassurance around health & nutrition, farming, environment and ethics

  • Fighting against negative publicity threatening to sway consumers either to opt for a different carbohydrate, or exclude carbohydrates completely from their diet
  • The first campaign, which launched in November was called ‘The Perfect Chip’. The press coverage included some health messages about potatoes in general, along with a nutrition quote from FAB member Professor Robert Pickard
  • 'The Perfect Chip' received coverage across 44 national and regional press titles including The Daily Express, Mirror, MailOnline, Independent and Metro, along with a brilliant feature on BBC Breakfast TV reaching 1.7billion people

Website and Social Activity

Providing a drum beat of inspiring potato recipes, tips and ideas

  • The ‘LovePotatoes’ website is a continuous ‘always on’ platform for our inspiring potato recipes and topical blogs
  • The website received over 43k visitors in October with approximately 64k page views, and our social channels saw an average engagement rate of 3.2% which is well above the Food and Beverage sector average of 0.45%
  • The ‘More Than a Bit on the Side’ social media channels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have the largest social media following of all the AHDB sectors at over 276k active followers



Educating over 5 million primary school children with Grow Your Own Potatoes

We’ve helped over 5 million children learn where their food comes from since 2005 through our Grow Your Own Potatoes project in primary schools.

Over 10,000 schools take part each year - that's nearly half the primarys!

The seed for the project is donated by the industry, making the scheme a fantastic example of industry cooperation, as well as a success. Contact us if you'd like help getting your local schools involved.

The children became Potato farmers for a short time after planting the seeds to harvesting our winning produce! After harvesting the bumper crop the children made chips with them and there were even enough to take some home! GYOP was the perfect project to provide valuable teaching and learning experiences in possibly the most challenging time in school!

We are so grateful for GYOP and delighted that our hard work paid off and we won an awesome prize for the school. Thank you!

Kaylee Hopkins (Head of Year 3, Leader of Science, DT and STEM)

Who to speak to about potato consumer marketing or education:

Image of staff member Rob Clayton

Rob Clayton

Strategy Director Potatoes


Working with the governments of our top export destinations

We have worked with the governments of Egypt, Morocco, Thailand, Canary Islands and Israel our top five destinations, which account for 70% of seed export trade, to ensure these markets and customers retain confidence in UK seed post-Brexit. Last year we visited Egypt, with partners from Scottish Government and received assurances from the Egyptian Government that legislation was in place to allow the continued supply of British seed potatoes post-Brexit.

During the 2019/20 season approximately 120,000t of seed potatoes were shipped to export markets with an estimated export value of £55 million.

Export Activity

Potatoes from the UK now have access to over 50 countries worldwide with well-established markets in Egypt, Canary Islands (Spain), Morocco, Indonesia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

We continue to showcase the UK’s potato industry at key global potato events such as Potato Europe and Fruit Logistica to highlight the high health and quality of potatoes from the UK, explore potential opportunities in new markets and facilitate meetings between our levy payers and their customers.

Target Markets

We work with the Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) and with UK’s Department of International Trade through embassies and consulates to liaise with overseas plant health authorities on an official government-to government level in order to develop long-term contact with authorities in importing countries. This work helps to influence plant health and seed import policies in these countries and allows for discussion and resolution of any specific plant health and technical issues that may occur.

Together with SASA we facilitate official inward and outward missions with key markets, both existing and new.

Safe Haven

Safe Haven was set up by the British seed industry in 2005 to provide additional protection for the British potato industry and its customers from bacterial ring rot. The scheme uses scientifically-robust protocols to ensure best practice for seed growing and handling and requires businesses who are members of the scheme to be audited annually to ensure compliance. The scheme’s protocol for new entrants is an important control to ensure disease risks are not introduced to the scheme. The Safe Haven Certification Scheme continues to be supported by AHDB, most recently through an industry survey and review in 2019-20.


Webinar recording - Potatoes: exploring the impact of 'no deal'

Who to speak to about export and overseas market development:

Image of staff member Patrick Hughes

Patrick Hughes

Head of Export Trade Development - Potatoes