Jeni Meade, from Co Meath-based Meade Potatoes, has told Agriland that 120,000 tonnes of frozen potato products are imported into Ireland annually.

“This equates to 240,000 tonnes of fresh potatoes. Or, put another way, this amount of produce is equivalent to Ireland’s total annual output of spuds,” she added.

“This is why National Potato Day, which we are celebrating today, is so important. The campaign will help to raise awareness amongst the general public of just how good locally grown potatoes are. There is also a very important message to be communicated regarding the health benefits to be accrued from the inclusion of potatoes in the diet.”

Looking to the future Jeni said that European funding will be available next year, which will allow the potato industry build on the success that has been generated to date courtesy of National Potato Day.

“This is great news for the potato sector,” she stressed.

“Potato consumption levels have been falling over recent years. And we need every marketing resource possible to allow us reverse this trend.”

This year has seen Meade Potato company develop a new range of frozen chips, made exclusively from Rooster potatoes.

“We are the only Irish company bringing to market frozen chips from locally grown potatoes. We have branded the new product: ‘Meade Irish Rooster Chips’. Consumer reaction to date has been extremely positive and we want to build on this for the future,” Jeni confirmed.

“Yes, our chip venture makes good business sense for Meade Potatoes. But it is also helping to reduce the level of potato products coming in to this country.

“As a company, we are totally committed to National Potato Day. The initiative provides a tremendous platform for the potato sector as a whole. And the work put in to date by Bord Bía, the Irish Potato Federation and the Irish Farmers Association in making it all happen must be commended .”