A Potato Promotions Group is to be established to plan and implement a major marketing initiative over the next three to five years, which will address consumer perceptions about potatoes and drive demand.
New research shows that almost two-thirds of consumers are interested in learning and hearing more about potatoes. The findings, which will be presented to the National Potato Conference in Dublin on Wednesday, show that fresh potatoes score strongly on characteristics such as taste, family meals, health, nutrition, natural, filling and good value for money.
IFA Potato Chairman Thomas Carpenter said there was an urgent need to address the price paid to growers, as they were under severe pressure. “Potato growing will not survive based on the return to farmers at the moment. They have to get a price that will cover their costs of production and give them a margin. The positive aspects of this research must be built upon to stabilise potato consumption and safeguard the livelihoods of commercial growers.”
Mike Neary of Bord Bia said,” The research has clearly highlighted a major challenge for the Potato Industry to stabilise and grow fresh potato consumption again. A sustained communications campaign is needed to highlight the positive attributes associated with potatoes targeted to those sections of the population with lower consumption patterns.”
The research, which was carried out by tns MRBI for Bord Bia, shows that fresh potatoes are still the number one carbohydrate source among Irish housekeepers. Two-thirds buy fresh potatoes at least weekly.
The research also focused on the key demographic of 22-44 year olds. It found consumers in this group, while still consuming potatoes, favour pasta and rice and the volume of potatoes they buy is driven by lifestage and in particular the arrival of children.