Sweet potatoes are a popular vegetable among U.S. shoppers, with female, white and high-income consumers among the most frequent purchasers.
Just more than four out of 10 consumers (41%) in The Packer’s Fresh Trends 2019 survey indicated they had purchased sweet potatoes in the past year.
That is just ahead of cantaloupes (40%) and just behind spinach (42%) in purchase frequency, according to Fresh Trends.
In terms of income demographics, Fresh Trends data showed that higher-income consumers were more frequent purchasers of sweet potatoes than those with lower annual incomes.
The data showed that 54% of consumers making more than $100,000 purchased sweet potatoes in the past year, compared with 46% of consumers making $50,000 to $100,000.
For consumers making $25,000 to $50,000, Fresh Trends reported 38% purchased sweet potatoes; that was well above the 27% making under $25,000 who purchased sweet potatoes in the past year.
Among Fresh Trends respondents, about 48% of females say they purchased sweet potatoes in the past year, compared with 36% of males who said they purchased sweet potatoes.
By region, Fresh Trends 2019 data showed that purchase frequency was fairly even across the U.S.
About 44% of respondents in the Northeast said they bought sweet potatoes in the past year, compared with 43% for the South, 42% for the Midwest and 36% for consumers in the West.
Older consumers were by far the best sweet potato purchasers, with Fresh Trends reporting that 57% of consumers older than 59 years old said they bought sweet potatoes, compared with 42% for shoppers 50-58 years old, 39% for those 40-49 years old, and 30% for those 18-39 years old.
By ethnic background, Fresh Trends 2019 revealed that 49% of white/Caucasian respondents purchased sweet potatoes, compared with 39% for black shoppers, 25% for Hispanics and 45% for Asian consumers.
About 11% of shoppers who purchased sweet potatoes said they bought organic sweet potatoes in the past year.
Organic sweet potato consumers skewed toward high income and younger age brackets.
In the 18-39 age group, 20% of consumers said they bought organic sweet potatoes in the past year, compared with just 4% of consumers over 59.