Likewise, reds are no longer relegated to potato salad.
“Now we see them roasted,” he said.
Another trend, Odiorne said, is that hash and home fries are no longer just for breakfast.
Rather than corned beef, more upscale proteins — such as lobster and crab — are being incorporated in those dishes.
That’s a lot of good news for potato grower-shippers, whose products are a staple across the various segments of restaurant dining from quick-service to white-tablecloth.
But some are concerned that the improved markets could be short-lived.
“The economy has gotten better,” said Jim Richter, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Rexburg, Idaho-based Wilcox Fresh.
“The wild card is if gasoline reaches $5 a gallon — as predicted (by some) — this summer, that will have an effect on foodservice.”
On Feb. 22, the national average price of gasoline was $3.58 a gallon, according to AAA.
“It’s going to go high,” Richter said.
“The question is how high. One you get to $5, it’s going to create tradeoffs for consumers.”