( File photo )

A slight rise in sales of fresh potatoes in the second-quarter ending in December was offset by a drop in russet volumes, dragging the overall fresh category volume down.

Fresh sales were up 1.3%, according to Potatoes USA, but volume of russets, which make up two-thirds of the category, dropped 7.3%. That led to a decline of fresh potato volume of 4.3%. Overall fresh sales were $769.3 million, almost $1 million more than sales in the same quarter a year ago, according to the Potatoes USA report.

The average price-per pound of all varieties rose from 64 cents to 68 cents.

Smaller pack sizes saw a small decline in volume (although dollar sales for 1- to 4-pound packs rose 3.8%”), but the industry moved more 8-pound bags and in the bulk category. Eight-pound packs were up 4.6% in sales and 0.5% in volume, according to the report, and bulk sales saw a 1.4% drop, with a volume increase of 0.8%.

According to the report, which uses data from IRI, fresh sales of yellow potatoes, which contribute 11.6% of the overall volume of varieties, were up 4.8%