YTD Potato Volume Up On Lower Prices: Consumer Insights

Partly driven by the economy, the number of in-home prepared dinner has been steadily increasing, a good trend for supermarkets, and for potatoes since they are the #1 side dish, only all other vegetables combined have a higher percentage than potatoes.

While the percentage of individuals consuming potatoes over a two week period declined slightly in 2012, it’s important to remember that an average of 78% of consumers walking through your doors are regular consumers of potatoes.





Read Part 1: YTD Potato Volume Up On Lower Prices: U.S. and Regional Insights
Read Part 2: YTD Potato Volume Up On Lower Prices: Variety Data and Crop Insights

Sources: FreskLook, NPD Group, NAPMN, compiled by Category Partners LLC

YTD Potato Volume Up On Lower Prices: Variety Data and Crop Insights

While russets remain king as a percentage of total pounds, we have seen a slight shift in the volume. Russets share declined 1.2 points, while red, yellow and specialty increased their share of the volume. White variety shares also continued to decline.

Current Crop Status

There appears to be sufficient russet storage potatoes to make it to new crop, but that is dependent upon the storages holding up. Several growing areas are seeing reductions in pack-outs due to quality issues. The most prevalent issues appear to be silver scurf and pressure bruising. However, supplies in several areas will be “tight” in the period from mid-July through August.

In a trend that started in q3 and q4 of last year, yellows have had record volumes YTD and are in short supply. The supply will likely be very tight until new crop. The same situation exists on Red potatoes. Carefully review your promotion plans and maintain a presence in your ad circulars — now is not the time for deep discounting or BOGOs.

New Crop

Very early reports indicate that the 2013/2014 planted acres will be down 50k acres +/-. However, the majority of those acres are related to processing and should not impact the fresh market.

While a few regions had planting delays due to weather, there is still sufficient time to have a good crop. There “could be” some delays getting into new crop. The only exceptions could be North Dakota, parts of Minnesota and Maine, where weather-related planting delays could impact yields. This is especially true in North Dakota.

Read Part 1: YTD Potato Volume Up On Lower Prices: U.S. and Regional Insights
Read Part 3: YTD Potato Volume Up On Lower Prices: Consumer Insights
 

YTD Potato Volume Up On Lower Prices: U.S. and Regional Insights

Potato Retail pricing has been mostly deflationary through the first 16 weeks of 2013 with total US retail potato prices down -9.6%. That has reduced overall retail sales which are -6.3%. However, the lower prices have had a positive effect on pounds which are up +3.6% as consumers are returning to the category, in part, due to increased in-home dinners, but also the value proposition that potatoes represent.

  • Russet and white varieties saw the largest retail dollar declines, while yellow/gold and A/O (which is primarily specialty) saw dollar increases even with retail price decreases due to their overall volume increases.
  • YTD all the major categories are running plus volumes except the white segment.

  • The potato category performance varies considerably, both dollars and pounds by region.
  • The North East with a -3.3% dollar performance was the best of the eight regions, and the Western Region was the worst.
  • However, on a pound basis, the Great Lakes Region was the best, and California the worst performer.
  • Note that all regions had positive yellow dollar and pound performance

Read Part 2: YTD Potato Volume Up On Lower Prices: Variety Data and Crop Insights

Sources: FreskLook, NPD Group, NAPMN, compiled by Category Partners LLC