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Looking for Budget-Right, Nutritious Comfort Foods Right Now? There’s a Reason Potatoes Fit the Bill

April 22, 2020

Potatoes represent the largest sales increase of all vegetables sold at retail in March. Retail purchases of all potato products were 41 percent higher in March 2020 compared to the same time frame last year.

“Consumers give potatoes high marks for being a satisfying food that everyone enjoys and for being a great value,” said Blair Richardson, CEO, Potatoes USA. “The surprising news for most people is that potatoes are a nutrient-dense vegetable.”

Fresh potatoes have experienced a 42 percent volume increase since the beginning of March ¹ and a 67 percent year-over-year dollar sales increase as of the end of the first week of April. ² Before shelter-at-home mandates, 73 percent of consumers across the country reported eating potatoes at least once a month.

“Fresh potatoes are good for you and good for your wallet,” said Richardson. “Potatoes have a more favorable overall nutrient-to-price ratio than many vegetables.”

According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, potatoes provide more nutrients per penny compared to most vegetables. Potatoes have the highest score per dollar (along with sweet potatoes and carrots) on eight essential nutrients including potassium, fiber, protein, vitamins C and E, calcium, iron and magnesium.³

Potatoes contain as many, if not more, vitamins and minerals compared to other vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and sweet potato, per serving. One medium sized (5.3 ounces) skin-on potato contains 620 mg of potassium (more than a banana), 27 mg of vitamin C (more than a tomato), 2 grams fiber, and 3 grams of protein (which is half the protein in an egg). Potatoes provide all of these nutrients for 110 calories with no fat, sodium or gluten.

There are a number of fresh potatoes to choose from and each variety is particularly good for specific cooking styles and dishes:

  • Russets: good for baking and frying
  • Reds: perfect for salads and soups
  • Yellows: great for roasting or making buttery mashed potatoes
  • Whites: ideal for sautéing
  • Specialty potatoes such as fingerlings and petites: small on size, but big on flavor and short on cook time
  • Pre-packaged refrigerated potatoes: a great time-saving, fresh potato option.

Seventy-seven percent of Americans report using recipes at least some of the time, showing that recipes continue to be an important part of food inspiration and preparation at home. The most popular potato recipe searches at in March were:

For added convenience, flavors and friendly finger foods for kids, there is an array of frozen potato products including tots, hash browns, fries, wedges and more.

“Dehydrated potatoes are a great option right now because they don’t require refrigeration and can be a go-to in your pantry,” said Richardson. “Same goes for potato chips.”

Dehydrated potatoes are typically made from Russet, Red, and Yellow potatoes that undergo a dehydration (removal of water). They can be easily rehydrated by adding water and then served or cooked immediately. Potato chips are minimally processed and typically made with three ingredients found in most homes – potatoes, vegetable oil, and salt. In comparison, several of the top snack foods contain five or more ingredients. Potato chips also primarily contain unsaturated fats (90 percent) – the type of fats that fit within a healthy dietary pattern.⁴

For more recipes and information, please visit

¹ IRI Retail Sales data for the four weeks ending March 22, 2020

² Source: Source: IRI, Total U.S., MULO, 1 week % change vs. YA

³ Drewnowski A. New metrics of affordable nutrition: which vegetables provide most nutrients for least cost? J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013 Sep;113(9):1182-7.

⁴ Nutrition facts label: Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Available at: Saturated, unsaturated, and trans fats. ChooseMyPlate. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Available at: Types of fat. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Available at: Mazaffarian D, Micha R and Wallace S. Effects on coronary heart disease of increasing polyunsaturated fat in place of saturated fat: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PLoS Med. 2010;23(7):e1000252. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000252.

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