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Dollars Up While Volume Varies On Potato Sales During Holiday Season

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The value of total store potato sales increased by 1.5 percent during the second quarter of the marketing year compared to previous marketing year. Quarter two ran October-December 2018 and included all holiday sales prior to the new year. Volume declined by 1.8 percent across all categories. Data was compiled by IRI and reported by Denver, Colorado-based Potatoes USA.

Frozen potatoes saw the largest gain compared to the same period last marketing year. Tater drums and french fries contributed to the growth in volume of frozen potatoes, contributing 11.2 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively. The decline in volume of canned potatoes was mainly due to a decrease in whole canned potatoes, which fell by 8.0 percent from year ago. Fresh potatoes led the volume decline in total store potato sales, falling 4.3 percent from the previous year.

The decline in fresh sales volume was mostly due to a 7.3 percent decline in russets, which make up 66.7 percent of the total fresh volume, though the value of russet sales did still increase 0.4 percent. Purple/blue only contribute to 0.1 percent of the total volume of fresh potatoes, but they decreased in volume by 12.4 percent.

Not all types declined in quarter two; yellows increased in sales volume by 4.8 percent. Yellows are the third greatest contributor to volume, making up 11.6 percent of the fresh volume sold at retail.

There were changes in the volume sales in regard to pack size, as smaller pack sizes saw a bit of a decline while 8-lb. bags and bulk increased. Dollar sales were up for 1- to 4-lb. packs by 3.8 percent, but volume declined by 1.0 percent. Eight-lb. package sizes were up by 4.6 percent in dollar sales and 0.5 percent in volume. Bulk decreased in dollar sales by 1.4 percent but increased in volume by 0.8 percent.

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