While changes in health habits like low-carb diets in the US have had an effect on demand for potatoes in the World, these negative views of the vegetable are beginning to change according to Blair Richardson, president of Potatoes USA.
“The research we’ve been conducting in the last couple of years (shows) that consumer perception of the potato is actually improving quite a bit.”
“We’re not just saying it’s OK to eat potatoes; we’re using the research that the Alliance for Potato Research & Education group and that we ourselves have put together… to say you should eat potatoes and not only that, you should eat more potatoes.”
Another factor in demand has been the fierce competition in the french fry industry, where many countries are battening it out for market share dominance, Bruce Huffaker, publisher of North American Potato Market News said.
“The global demand for french fries is growing very rapidly, and the Europeans are grabbing the lion’s share of the extra business.”
Huffaker says that as a result of aggressive pricing, currency issues and some transportation advantages, producers in northwest Europe — and particularly in Belgium — have captured about 80 per cent of the growth in the global french fry market over the past 10 years.