Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD today launched a new €1m marketing campaign to boost potato consumption among Irish consumers.
Bord Bia will coordinate and manage the three-year campaign.
Retail sales of fresh potatoes in Ireland have declined by 25% over the last decade and by as much as one third between 2002 and 2014, according to Kantar WorldPanel.
Speaking at today’s launch Minister Simon Coveney said: “The potato is part of our culture like no other food, inextricably linked to Ireland’s story and part of who we are.
"This campaign will bring the different varieties and versatility of the Irish potato to a younger generation."
The initiative will be co-funded by the EU, Ireland’s potato industry and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and will be run in conjunction with the British Potato Council.
Today, the Minister welcomed the EU Commission’s decision to approve a total fund of €4.6m "to promote potatoes on the Irish and British markets over the next three years of which 50% will be funded by the EU.
"My department is also availing of the opportunity to grant financial support to the Irish potato industry for this positive promotional activity. Combined with industry funding the total campaign will be worth €1m over the three years in Ireland.
Highlighting some of the challenges facing the industry Mike Neary, Horticulture Manager, Bord Bia, said: "Potatoes are still Ireland’s preferred main meal carbohydrate, however shoppers under-45 account for only 33% of potato sales and these consumers will ultimately make up a major part of the total market in the years to come.
"Younger consumers view potatoes as a traditional, unexciting food and less convenient than modern carbs such as pasta and rice.”
The new promotional campaign, entitled “Potatoes - more than a bit on the side”, will focus on younger consumers, in particular 22-44 year old females.
“We really need to challenge consumer perceptions of fresh potatoes – particularly amongst younger age groups – in order to combat declining consumption,” added Mr. Neary.
“This integrated campaign will highlight the fact that potatoes offer enormous potential within the world of modern cooking and build awareness of the added health and nutritional benefits of potatoes in comparison to competitor carbohydrates."
The campaign will include print and digital advertising using a ‘cheeky’ potato character and tasty recipes to show potatoes are ‘more than a bit on the side’.
The campaign will kick off with National Potato Day on Friday October 2.