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Britain a nation of spud lovers

More spent on potatoes than pasta or rice

Britons get through £855 million worth of fresh potatoes a year – more than dry pasta and rice put together, a report out today says.

Spending on spuds has risen by 20 per cent since 2001 as shoppers buy more expensive varieties, according to market analysts Mintel.

Shoppers splash out eight times as much money on fresh potatoes as they do on dry pasta – and treble the amount they spend on rice.

Total spending on all potato products comes to £1.5 billion once frozen, chilled, canned and other varieties are included.

Dehydrated potato such as Smash have enjoyed a 22 per cent sales upturn since 2004, according to Mintel. Britons ate 13,000 tonnes of the dried mash last year – up from 11,000 tonnes in 2004.

The strength of the Smash brand and the convenience factor of the dried product are behind the trend, Mintel said.

Expensive varieties

Shoppers’ increased spending on fresh potatoes is said to be down to supermarkets launching more expensive varieties such as organic Maris Piper, Vivaldi, and ready to cook Parmentier potatoes.

Mintel senior market analyst Julie Sloan said British-grown fresh potatoes were set to become more fashionable because of rising concerns over food miles.

‘With potatoes on our doorstep there is little doubt that more modern carbohydrate alternatives such as rice and pasta cannot compete with the clear conscience shopping of buying home grown potatoes,’ she said.

Britons spend £264 million per year on rice and £105 million per year on dry pasta, Mintel’s report says.

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