Nov 4, 2021Most potato category sales remain above pre-pandemic levels
During the first quarter of Potatoes USA’s Marketing Year 2022 (July-September 2021), potato sales decreased in dollars by 1.1% and in volume by 5.7% compared to the same period in 2020.
While the elevated purchasing in 2020 led to a slight decline in total sales, two categories remained above 2020 sales in dollars and volume. However, compared to 2019 sales, total potato sales are above pre-pandemic levels. Consumers bought 80 million more pounds of potatoes from July-September 2021 than the same period in 2019.
As consumers continue to cook at home but shy away from cooking with scratch ingredients, deli-prepared sides had the largest increase compared to 2020, with an 11.7% increase in dollars and a 6.9% increase in volume. However, deli sales have not returned to 2019 levels.
Refrigerated potatoes also increased in dollars and volume compared to the same period in 2020, following the trend across retail of fewer consumers cooking from scratch at home.
Frozen potatoes fell in sales compared to 2020, with dollar and volume sales decreasing by 1% and 3%, respectively. The two largest volume driving categories — chips and fresh potatoes — decreased in dollar sales and volume compared to the previous year.
All categories, except for chips and deli-prepared sides, are above 2019 volume sales levels even though they could not hold up against the stay-at-home orders in 2020.
The decline in fresh sales was largely impacted by a decline in russet sales, which fell by 7.1% in dollars and 10.9% in volume. Russets make up 59% of the volume share of fresh sales.
The second largest fresh category, red potatoes, also fell in dollars by 8.7% and volume by 5%. Red potatoes were one of two fresh categories that declined in the average price per pound during the three months.
On the positive end of the spectrum, petite potatoes had double-digit growth in dollars by 12.6% and an increase in volume by 7%. Yellow potatoes also increased in dollars by 1% and volume by 0.7%.
Eight-pound bags of potatoes were the only package size to grow in both categories, seeing a 3.6% increase in dollars and a 3.3% increase in volume compared to 2020. One through four-pound bags of potatoes grew by 3.3% in dollars but fell slightly in volume by 2.7%.
— Numbers compiled by IRI for Potatoes USA