A nationwide campaign to boost sales of baked potatoes will run this winter to aid the tattie sector after a second washout harvest.
Levy body AHDB plans to launch a promotional campaign highlighting the benefits of baked potatoes to shoppers in the next few weeks.
The organisation’s potatoes strategy director, Rob Clayton, said it was the second promotional campaign run by AHDB to aid the potato sector during the coronavirus pandemic.
The first campaign, which ran in the summer and reached five million consumers, aimed to boost sales of fresh potatoes and help find an alternative market for spuds which lost buyers when fish and chip shop and foodservice outlets closed during lockdown.
“Since the pandemic hit, we have increased the amount of data we analyse from supermarkets and other areas of the marketplace,” said Dr Clayton.
“While potato sales at retail are up 8-9% overall, analysis from Kantar Worldpanel shows baking potatoes lagging behind at a rise of 3%.”
He added: “Jacket potatoes are a fantastic healthy and cost-effective option for families, so we will be launching a winter campaign to inspire shoppers to take advantage of all the great things they can do with bakers.”
News of the campaign comes as provisional AHDB figures suggest British potato growers harvested 5.3m tonnes of tatties this year – this is up 2.8% on harvest 2019 but just below the five-year average of 5.4m tonnes.
AHDB senior analyst, Alice Bailey, said growers had battled an exceptionally wet harvest period for the second year running.
She said although this year’s harvest was plagued with rainfall and muddy fields, growers had fared better than in 2019.
“As on November 10 it was estimated that 2% of the planted area was yet to be lifted,” said Ms Bailey.
“This compares with 11% of the crop that was estimated to be lifted on November 12 2019.”
She said although farmers had reported variable yields from farm to farm, and even field to field, the overall harvest estimate was in line with expectations as this year’s planted areas was the third lowest on record.
“We saw planted area drop by 2.3% this year, yet we are estimating a 2.8% rise in production,” added Ms Bailey.
“This is based on both a slight incrase in yields year-on-year and the fact that a large area was left unharvested last year.
“The unlifted area in 2019 was estimated at 6%, whereas in 2018 less than 1% was estimated to be left in the ground and we would anticipate similar this year.”