Irish consumers are expected to buy 20,000 tonnes of the Queens variety of potatoes over the coming months, Bord Bia predicts.
The agency is using the arrival of new season potatoes arriving into Irish shops this week as an opportunity to emphasise the role of potatoes in a healthy diet.
Bord Bia’s research shows that potatoes remain a firm favourite at mealtimes.
The first crop of new potatoes is two weeks later than usual due to colder temperatures in the spring.
Bord Bia potato sector manager, Lorcan Bourke, said: “Some 1.65 million Irish households will buy 120 million packs of potatoes, spending an estimated €175m on them this year.
"New season potatoes are the real taste of summer for many Irish people, so it’s an ideal time to highlight how versatile and nutritious they are.”
TV dietitian and nutritional expert, Aoife Hearne, is Bord Bia’s newly- appointed potato ambassador. She says that the potato is naturally fat-free and gluten-free.
“It’s really important that we dispel the myth that potatoes are fattening,” said Ms Hearne.
“Potatoes, like the new season potatoes that are being harvested this week, provide Irish people with a very important source of carbohydrates, which are essential for our bodies and particularly for brain function.
"Potatoes are a natural food, both versatile and delicious, making them a great food to include into the diet for all ages.”
Ms Hearne is heading Bord Bia’s ‘Potatoes – More Than A Bit On The Side’ campaign to encourage more people to eat potatoes in Ireland.
She visited the Pettit family farm in Carne, Co Wexford, for the start of this year’s harvest, along with representatives from Bord Bia, the Irish Potato Federation and the Irish Farmers Association.
Pat Pettit is a seventh generation farmer and together with his son, James, is one of 500 potato growers nationwide.
“The taste of new season Queens is one that brings back great childhood memories for many,” Ms Hearne said.
“Potatoes go hand in hand with healthy eating for adults and children alike as they are naturally fat-free and gluten-free and a great source of fibre, vitamin C and a variety of B vitamins. They also contain three times the amount of potassium of bananas.”
Bord Bia is also launching 20 family-friendly summer recipes on www.potato.ie, to show the versatility of potatoes.
The website already has another 40 recipes featuring potatoes.
The three-year campaign is co-funded by the EU, Ireland’s potato industry and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
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