Jul 28, 2020
Fresh organic potato sales hit all-time high
Zeke Jennings

Fresh organic potato sales hit a record peak in the 12-month period that ended June 30, according to a report from Potatoes USA.

Fresh organic potato sales totaled $132.4 million, which is 8.6% higher than last year and an all-time high, according to the report, which was based on data from IRI. The Denver-based Potatoes USA is a marketing organization serving 2,500 commercial potato growers in the U.S.

At the retail level, organic potatoes commanded a price of $1.50 per pound, compared to $0.74 cents per pound for conventional taters. The numbers were based on total sales for multi-outlet retailers.

In terms of volume, conventionally-grown potatoes accounted for 98% of the market, compared to just 2% for organic, according to the report. Overall, fresh potato sales in the U.S. retail sector surpassed $13 billion during the 12-month period between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020. The $13.03 billion in sales was 11.2% higher than the previous year. Volume sold was 7.621 billion pounds, which was up 9.7%.

All categories of non-specialty potatoes sold double-digit percentage points more in terms of overall volume with the exception of reds, according to the report. That is likely due to a lack of availability due to weather-related harvest problems last fall in the Red River Valley, an area that grows a high volume of red potatoes.

The large spike came mostly during March through June due to COVID-19 restrictions, which led to people eating at home more than eating away from home. Sales were up 15.7% from January to March and 24% from April to June.

Above, organic potatoes from Tuscarora Organic Growers at Each Peach Market in Washington, D.C. Photo: USDA/Lance Cheung

Zeke Jennings is a contributing editor of Organic Grower. He also is the managing editor of Spudman and Produce Processing magazines.

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