Russets, which easily lead the spud category in volume, experienced a drop in potato shipments the last six months of 2018.
Although there was small increase in fresh potato sales during this period, the decline in russet volume dragged the overall fresh potato category down in volume.
Potatoes USA of Denver, CO, the nation’s potato marketing and research organization, reports fresh sales were up 1.3 percent, but shipments of russets, which make up two-thirds of the category, dropped 7.3 percent. That resulted to a decline of fresh potato volume of 4.3 percent. Overall fresh sales were $769.3 million, almost $1 million more than sales in the same quarter a year ago.
The average price-per pound of all varieties rose from 64 cents to 68 cents.
Smaller pack sizes saw a small decline in volume (although dollar sales for 1- to 4-pound packs rose 3.8percent), but the industry moved more 8-pound bags and in the bulk category. Eight-pound packs were up 4.6 percent in sales and 0.5 percent in volume. Bulk sales saw a 1.4 perent drop, with a volume increase of 0.8 percent.
According to the report, which uses data from IRI, fresh sales of yellow potatoes, which contribute 11.6 percent of the overall volume of varieties, were up 4.8 percent.