June 9, 2020

Dehy, frozen, canned potato sales in retail spike during spring

Retail potato sales in the U.S. were up more than 30%, year-over-year, during the period of April 1 to May 17.

That followed a first quarter that saw a 15.5% jump in retail sales, according to data compiled by IRI for Potatoes USA. The situation reflects the ongoing COVID-19 foodservice shutdowns and restrictions, which went into effect in early to mid-March in most of the country.

For the marketing year, which is July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020, retail volume is up 9.3%, year-over-year, and sales are up 10.4% to $11.417 billion. The average price per pound is up 1.0% to $1.69.

  • Chips, which are up 6.8%, account for the largest market share of retail potato product sales at $5.491 billion.
  • Fresh potato sales were up 13.5% to $2.894 billion, which is the second-largest category behind chips.
  • Dehy potatoes have seen the largest increase in sales, up 22.0%, to $521 million. Dehy price-per-pound also had the largest increase at 5.9%.
  • Canned potatoes (+18.2%) and frozen (+16.1) also saw large increases.
  • The only category has decreased in the market this year is deli-prepared sides, which are down 4.7%.

Despite the robust retail sales due to COVID-19 stay-at-home mandates, it hasn’t been a rosy few months for the potato industry. Nearly 60% of U.S.-grown potatoes go to the foodservice market. Decreased demand in that sector has left a surplus of processing-bound potatoes in storage and backed up the supply chain. It’s also led to a reduction in processing contracts for growers for the 2020 season.

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