Real opportunities for the industry to optimise the fresh potato category and build long-term demand was the key message from the latest Potato Council Retail Conference.
An audience of retail buyers and suppliers, packers, distributors and growers gathered in London for the bi-annual conference, which revealed new insight into consumers' shopping habits and how it can be used to make the potato category more informative and inspirational - and help drive up sales.
New research, commissioned by Potato Council, highlighted that four out of ten shoppers make the decision to buy potatoes in-store, with three in ten making the purchasing decision at the potato fixture. This makes merchandising and layout a significant opportunity for the category.
Potato Council chairman, Allan Stevenson, presided over the day's programme and was joined by head of marketing and corporate affairs, Caroline Evans, as well as speakers from Kantar Worldpanel, The Oxford Partnership and IGD.
Colin Boxell and Alison Braney from the Oxford Partnership explained the impact of the results of the new research. Colin said: "The potato fixture meets current expectations but needs to do more to interest and inspire shoppers.
"Simple considerations such as adopting shopper friendly language related to the potatoes usage and size such as ‘new/salad', ‘everyday' and ‘baking' have real potential to positively influence purchasing behaviour. Likewise, drawing on experiences from other categories, which have seen great success using colour coding and visual clues, will help shoppers better navigate the potato fixture."