Potato industry welcomes €1 million marketing boost
22 September 2015 | 0
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney has launched a new €1 million marketing campaign to boost potato consumption among Irish consumers. Bord Bia will coordinate and manage the three year campaign which has been designed to dispel fattening myths around potatoes, positioning them as naturally fat free, tasty and versatile. Retail sales of fresh potatoes in Ireland have declined by 25% over the last decade and by as much as one third between 2002 and 2014 (Source: Kantar Worldpanel).
Speaking at the launch Minister Simon Coveney said: “The potato is part of our culture like no other food, inextricably linked to Ireland’s story and part of who we are. This campaign will bring the different varieties and versatility of the Irish potato to a younger generation.”
Raising potatoes’ profile
The initiative will be co-funded by the EU, Ireland’s potato industry and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and will be run in conjunction with the British Potato Council. The overall strategy is to implement a single umbrella campaign, across both the Irish and British market, which will raise the image and profile of potatoes, and re-establish their relevance within the weekly shopping basket.
Minister Coveney welcomed the EU Commission’s decision to approve a total fund of €4.6 million “to promote potatoes on the Irish and British markets over the next three years of which 50% will be funded by the EU.”
Highlighting some of the challenges facing the industry Mike Neary, Horticulture Manager, Bord Bia, said, “Potatoes are still Ireland’s preferred main meal carbohydrate, however shoppers under-45 account for only 33% of potato sales and these consumers will ultimately make up a major part of the total market in the years to come. Younger consumers view potatoes as a traditional, unexciting food and less convenient than modern carbs such as pasta and rice.”
Attracting younger consumers
The new promotional campaign, entitled “Potatoes – more than a bit on the side”, will focus on younger consumers, in particular 22-44 year old females. “We really need to challenge consumer perceptions of fresh potatoes – particularly amongst younger age groups – in order to combat declining consumption. This integrated campaign will highlight the fact that potatoes offer enormous potential within the world of modern cooking and build awareness of the added health and nutritional benefits of potatoes in comparison to competitor carbohydrates” added Mr. Neary.
The campaign will include print and digital advertising using a ‘cheeky’ potato character and tasty recipes to show potatoes are ‘more than a bit on the side’. This message will be further supported by extensive social media activity, blogger and vlogger partnerships, quick, simple and healthy recipes and a PR campaign. The campaign will kick off with National Potato Day on Friday, 2 October.
Did you know? Ireland’s potato market
It is estimated a total of 9,122 hectares of potatoes were grown in Ireland in 2014 producing 350,000 tonnes. Last year, the retail market was valued at €184 million. The main varieties of potatoes grown in Ireland include Rooster (60%), Kerr Pinks (8%), Queens (8%) and Whites (7%). Meath, Dublin, Wexford, Louth, Donegal and Cork are the largest potato growing counties with approximately 500 active potato growers in Ireland.