Apr 9, 2020
Potatoes USA report shows how dependent industry is on foodservice

Recent data released by Potatoes USA shows just how important foodservice is to the potato industry.

The report — compiled from Technomic, IRI Retail Sales and Nielsen data — shows 58% of U.S.-grown potatoes went to foodservice utilization in 2019. That is a 1.2% year-over-year increase, which was driven mostly by a 2.7% increase to the frozen foodservice segment, as year-over-year numbers to fresh, chips and dehy foodservice showed between a 1.0 and 1.8% decrease, respectively.

Total potato utilization was 37.012 million pounds in 2019, up 3.3% from the previous year.

On the retail side, overall utilization rose 0.7% to 14.808 million pounds, led by chips at 6.037 million pounds — an increase of 1.1% — and a 4% increase in frozen to 2.174 million pounds. Fresh potato sales decreased by 1% to 4.583 million pounds, although that was one of the lowest rates of decrease in “many years,” Potatoes USA reported.

The fluid coronavirus (COVID-19) impact is just starting to be felt by the industry.

In an April 8 report compiled by Bruce Huffaker of North American Potato Market News from Federal-State Market News data, U.S. shippers moved 8.622 million cwt of fresh potatoes during March, which was an 11.2% increase from last year.

The reduction in foodservice processing demand is yet to be realized, however, as it is unknown how long coronavirus concerns will keep restaurants limited to takeout only.

The full Potatoes USA report can be found here: POTRT200010_SalesUtilization_ADA_r1 (1)

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