‘No carb’ diets sees potato consumption drop 39%

Potato consumption in Ireland has fallen by 55kg/capita per annum since the 1970s, or by 39% in 40 years, according to Bord Bia.

In 2015, the average consumption of potatoes by adults is 85kg/capita, compared to the 1970s when Irish people consumed 140kg/capita.

However, the potato is still Ireland’s number one carbohydrate with 106,058 packs of potatoes sold in 2014. Rice and noodles are the second most popular carbohydrates, followed by pasta, Bord Bia said.

Bord Bia attributes this fall in consumption to consumers cutting out carbohydrates and potatoes being percieved as fattening, especially by females.

It also said that consumers have switched to other more ‘modern carbs’ and that the image of potatoes is viewed as traditional, less convenient and unexciting.

There has been a decline of 12% since 2010 in the volume of potatoes those under-45 buy, Bord Bia said and that the frequency of purchase of potatoes by under-45s has fallen by 11% since 2008.

In order to address this decline, Bord Bia,will coordinate and manage a €1m three-year campaign which has been designed to dispel fattening myths around potatoes, positioning them as naturally fat-free, tasty and versatile.

The initiative will be co-funded by the EU, Ireland’s potato industry and the Department of Agriculture and will be run in conjunction with the British Potato Council.

The overall strategy is to implement a single umbrella campaign, across both the Irish and British market, which will raise the image and profile of potatoes, and re-establish their relevance within the weekly shopping basket.

It is estimated a total of 9,122ha of potatoes were grown in Ireland in 2014 producing 350,000t. Last year, the retail market was valued at €184m.