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Understanding Potato Perceptions and Consumption: Real-World Applications

February 2, 2024


Vegetable consumption in the U.S. is pervasively low. Nine out of 10 Americans do not meet daily vegetable recommendations1. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) stress the importance of meeting people where they are, with incremental steps to effectively and sustainably improve eating behaviors and, in turn, diet qualityUnderstanding attitudes about commonly consumed vegetables, and how perceptions can affect real-world behaviors and consumption, is important to helping close the vegetable consumption gap.

In December 2023, a nationwide omnibus survey was conducted to determine:

  • The frequency of consumption of commonly consumed vegetables (onions; leafy greens; tomatoes; black, pinto, and white beans; broccoli, green beans; corn; sweet potatoes; and white potatoes);
  • The perception of these commonly consumed vegetables’ value based on a combination of cost, nutrition, and taste;
  • The perception of the healthfulness of commonly consumed vegetables;
  • An understanding of where commonly consumed vegetables fit into cultural traditions; and
  • Whether Americans eat baked, roasted, mashed, and boiled potatoes with or without the skin.


Meeting Street Insights conducted an online nationwide survey among 1,000 adults (aged 18+) between December 15-18, 2023.  Respondents were sourced from Dynata’s online general population consumer panel. Standard demographic quotas were set to mirror Census data for region, gender, age, and race; weights were also applied so that education level aligned with Census figures. The credibility interval for a sample of N=1,000 is +/-3.53%.  Potatoes USA commissioned the study.


Consumption Frequency

Twenty-two percent of Americans say they consume potatoes several times per week and 28% say they eat them once or twice per week. Overall, onions, leafy greens, and tomatoes are the most frequently consumed vegetables with 44%, 42%, and 34%, respectively, saying they eat them at least once per day or several times per week.


When asked to rank vegetable subgroups from most to least healthful, most consumers described dark green vegetables to be the healthiest and starchy vegetables to be the least healthy. This is commensurate with consumer perceptions of the healthfulness of specific commonly consumed vegetables.

While 60% of Americans report potatoes as being healthy, and 18% say they are very healthy, potatoes rank at the bottom of 10 commonly consumed vegetables’ perceived healthfulness. In fact, three out of four of the vegetables that consumers reported as being least healthy are in the starchy vegetable subgroup (white potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn).

White potatoes fare better when ranked by consumers as part of an overall perceived value based on cost, nutrition, and taste. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of Americans consider potatoes to provide good value and 24% say they provide very good value. Non-white consumers are more inclined to give potatoes higher value ratings than white Americans.

Cultural Relevance

Fifty-three percent of consumers say potatoes are the most foundational vegetables to their culture when compared to other commonly consumed vegetables. This finding was consistent across most race/ethnic groups with at least half of white (54%), Hispanic (53%), Black (52%), and Native (50%) Americans citing potatoes as foundational to their family and cultural food traditions.

Skin (Peel) Consumption

Most Americans eat the skin/peel when they prepare potatoes. A full 85% say they consume potatoes with the skin when baked, 76% when roasted, 71% when mashed, and 58% when boiled.

[1] U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at

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