( Courtesy Nash Produce )

North Carolina sweet potato shipments accounted for 70% of U.S. sweet potato shipments in 2018, down slightly from 73% in 2017 and even with 2016.

U.S. Department of Agriculture shipment statistics show that fresh shipments of sweet potatoes from North Carolina totaled 662.5 million pounds in 2018, down 10% from 736.8 million pounds in 2017 and down 4.4% compared with 692.4 million pounds in 2016.

As a percent of annual shipments, the USDA said top shipment months of North Carolina sweet potatoes in 2018 were:

  • March: 12.6%;
  • November: 9.6%:
  • April: 9.6%; and
  • January: 9.4%.

Fresh Trends insight

The Packer’s Fresh Trends research in 2019 showed about 12% of consumers said they consumed sweet potatoes in the previous 12 months.

Women, higher income consumers, and older consumers are marginally better buyers of sweet potatoes than men, lower income consumers and younger consumers, according to Fresh Trends.

Statistics from IRI/Fresh Look Marketing show that U.S. retail sales of sweet potatoes in 2018 totaled $640 million, down slightly from $642 million in 2017. 

Total pounds of sweet potatoes sold at retail were pegged at 574 million pounds in 2018, up from 565 million pounds in 2017. 

The average price per pound in 2018 was $1.58 per pound, up from $1.55 per pound in 2017. 

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