U.S. Potato Board reports drop in sales

09/14/2011 09:43:00 AM
Tara Schupner

Fresh potato sales dropped slightly in 2010, the U.S. Potato Board reported this summer, but some shippers in the San Luis Valley say their sales haven’t fallen.

Overall fresh potato sales fell 2.3% last year compared to 2009 sales, the U.S. Potato Board reported in July.

Pounds sold at retail were down about 3%.

David Tonso, partner at Cañon Potato Co., Center, Colo., said his company’s retail pack sales were steady through the economic downturn, if not slightly better, because people were buying potatoes to eat at home instead of eating out.

Bill Metz, owner of Metz Potato Co. LLC, Monte Vista, Colo., said his company’s sales of retail packs had not fallen. Metz Potato picked up some new business by shipping to new areas of the country.

The company sold through some new brokers who serviced areas Metz Potato hadn’t been shipping to, Metz said.

The potato board also reported foodservice sales were down, but by only 1%.

Tonso said Cañon Potato actually saw slight growth in its foodservice sales last year, and he’s eager to see what happens this season.

When the economy is poor, foodservice sales do tend to fall, he said.

The Packer’s 2011 Fresh Trends reported potatoes ranked second in popularity behind bananas tied with apples.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service reported that U.S. per capita use of fresh potatoes this year is forecast to be 34.2 pounds.



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