Easter's painted potatoes?

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Easter's painted potatoes?

The U.S. potato industry received a big boost in the week before Easter, as many national press outlets seized on the suggestion that potatoes be used as an alternative for fresh eggs in the holiday celebration.

Easter eggs, of course, have long been a key symbol in American culture for the springtime Christian holiday.

While FreshFruitPortal was not immediately able to confirm this story with Bonnie Johnson, director of nutrition and industry relations for Denver-based Potatoes USA, various news sources said the national potato marketing and promotion board has provided tips on painting potatoes. Potatoes USA is asking people who try Easter potatoes to use hashtag #easterpotatoes on social media and tag @PotatoGoodness on Facebook or Instagram.

Beyond other merits, the move from eggs is driven because of the great increases in fresh egg prices to U.S. consumers. Axios reported on Apr. 2 that Brittanie Pyper from Simplistically Living  indicates: “For people who are still being very concise of their food budget due to inflated costs on nearly everything, I think potatoes will be a really viable option for the Easter holiday.” 

Erin Bracken, a mom of three who works with Potatoes USA, says she’s heard from a lot of people who are planning to paint potatoes this year, which are easier for kids to hold and not as fragile. “I think they're looking to save money and I think they're just excited about a new thing to try,” Bracken said.

FreshFruitPortal research finds USDA statistics that U.S. egg prices plummeted from a high of $5.20 per dozen on Jan. 1, 2023, to $2.30 in late February. Going into Easter, prices had bounced back toward $3.50 per dozen. The three-year average price for eggs has been roughly $1.60.

 There’s also the issue of food waste, Joanie Demer, co-founder of the popular money-saving blog the Krazy Coupon Lady, tells Axios. “Eggs and potatoes both probably represent a food waste risk,” she said in an interview with Axios. “I don't know how different it is from painting a rock, which I think is also a decent alternative and even more cost-effective.” 

To whatever degree painted potatoes appear in 2023 Easter baskets, the potato industry has certainly received a boost of awareness among American consumers.

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