U.S. potato sales down despite retail spike
Despite the fact that retail sales saw an almost nine percent increase of 1.3 million pounds., this was offset by sales in the foodservice sector dropping by 13 percent as well as a two percent decline in exports.
Foodservice sales have increasingly contributed to total U.S potato sales, accounting for 58 percent in 2019. In 2020, however, this pattern changed drastically with the foodservice sales dropped by 5 percent, now equalling 53 percent of the total.
COVID restrictions greatly affect the foodservice industry during this period, but these effects were by no means uniform, impacting different establishments to varying degrees.
Limited-service restaurants, for instance, suffered the least and as a result, frozen sales only sank by 10 percent. However, since full-service restaurants were much more severely impacted and suffered a much greater decline in sales, fresh potato sales to foodservice were down by 19%.
The aforementioned decline in the utilization of the U.S. crop was exacerbated still more by a seven percent increase in potato imports. However, it must be noted that the major drops in sales only occurred in the latter part of the marketing year. Sales to the foodservice industry, retail, and exports, were initially up during the period from July to December of 2019
Accounting for the 8.7 percent increase in retail, frozen and dehydrated potatoes saw the largest growth. Both products saw increases of over 15 percent. Fresh sales also saw increases in retail with russets going up by 10 percent, yellows by 13 percent, and whites by 16 percent.
Only red potatoes experienced a decline. These were down by five percent as a result of supply issues.