Bord Bia drive to make potatoes more “Insta-friendly” with the millennial consumer

Bord Bia research finds high potato purchase with millennials but fundamental gaps in their knowledge of nutrition, preparation and use    

22nd July 2019: Potatoes are still the most consumed carbohydrate in Ireland with 97% of all households purchasing potatoes and a recorded growth in purchase of 1.3% to September 2018 (1). Irish people are eating potatoes on average more than 3 times a week, however, millennial consumers are buying with less frequency than the overall market. To understand the reasons behind this, Bord Bia conducted market research (2) which has highlighted a need to inform and educate millennial (3) consumers around the positive nutritional value of potatoes and how to use them more conveniently.

Barriers to purchase include a lack of awareness of the ease of preparation and nutritional benefits, alongside a low social media presence of potatoes within food-based content.  Potatoes were often associated with traditional cooking methods, with millennials unaware of their multicultural and varied usage possibilities. When cooked in their traditional ways , plated up meals were not seen as exciting as other  international meals to photograph and put on Instagram (i.e. to share with friends).

The launch of the research took place today on the farm of potato grower, Gerard Tuite in Clogherhead, Co. Louth who was celebrating the arrival of the New Season Queen variety of potatoes.

(l-r) David (8) and Gerard Tuite on their family farm in Clogherhead, Co. Louth

(l-r) David (8) and Gerard Tuite on their family farm in Clogherhead, Co. Louth

Lorcan Bourke, Fresh Produce & Potato, Manager Bord Bia, said “This research will provide the potato industry with invaluable insights on how we can work to future proof younger generations to enjoy potatoes. The research established that there was very little rejection of potatoes as a food, in fact, on the contrary many of the millennials interviewed were waxing lyrical about how they ‘loved their spuds!’ We do know that the millennial generation as a cohort are eating differently to previous generations seeking taste, convenience and health in their food.

Potatoes tick all the boxes across these three criteria, but only when people have full knowledge on how to use them in their busy lifestyles. We are here today celebrating the arrival of New Season Queens, and we want everyone to realise just how delicious they taste, how easy they are to prepare and the real health benefits of eating this natural food harvested straight from the soil. Queens are the quintessential taste of Irish summer, with their floury texture and delicate skin - perfect across a range of meals on warm summer’s day; for dinner, a barbeque or tasty salad!”

(l-r) Twins Evan and Abbie Wogan (8) with friend David Tuite (8) on the Tuite family farm in Clogherhead, Co. Louth

(l-r) Twins Evan and Abbie Wogan (8) with friend David Tuite (8) on the Tuite family farm in Clogherhead, Co. Louth

Potato Popularity with Millennials
The main findings from the study in favour of the potato included:

·      79% of those surveyed purchased fresh potatoes in their last shop

·      4 in 5 people ate potatoes in their last meal with the majority choosing to boil or mash them

·      59% of consumers purchase potatoes weekly, compared to rice (28%); pasta (26%); frozen chips (17%) and sweet potato (17%)

·      66% of consumers believe that potatoes are more natural than other forms of carbohydrate

·      60% said that everyone in their household liked potatoes

·      59% believe that potatoes represent good value for money

·      56% of consumers associate potatoes with lower food miles

·      54% believe that potatoes taste great

·      50% consuming more potatoes because they are aware of the high fibre content

Speaking about the nutritional benefits of potatoes, Bord Bia’s Fresh Produce Ambassador and TV dietician, Aoife Hearne said “We need to dispel the myth that potatoes are fattening or that carbohydrates as a food group are bad for you. Consuming potatoes is to be encouraged as we all need good quality carbohydrates for our bodies and particularly for brain function. Potatoes are naturally fat and gluten-free, a great source of fibre, Vitamin C and a variety of B vitamins.  They also contain three times the amount of potassium found in bananas."

Registered Dietitian and Bord Bia potato ambassador Aoife Hearne with David (8) and Gerard Tuite announcing the arrival of New Season Queen potatoes

Registered Dietitian and Bord Bia potato ambassador Aoife Hearne with David (8) and Gerard Tuite announcing the arrival of New Season Queen potatoes

Potato Recipes from around the World
Through the research, Bord Bia has identified a number of ways in which the industry can help to encourage millennial and generation Z consumers to consider purchasing more potatoes. This includes providing potato recipes with a ‘modern twist’ to them and recipes that are attractive on Instagram; providing cooking information, new recipes and information on how potatoes can feature in batch cooking. Also highlighted, were potatoes role in the fitness world as a nutritional food, and educating consumers about the role of the potato skins and versatility of the product.

Bord Bia currently has 142 such recipes on www.potato.ie along with 32 ‘How To Make’ potato recipe videos.

Cooking New Season Queens
Bord Bia is advising consumers that the best way to cook New Season Queens is to steam or boil them because of their floury texture. Cook them until they are just soft (cooked) to the core and then leave them steam over the water for 5minutes, sitting in their skins. For potato recipe inspiration visit www.bordbia.ie or check out the Sensational Summer Potato Salad Recipe in notes below.

A full copy of the research is available on request.

Notes to editor:

  1. Kantar Figures

  2. About the Research

Bord Bia employed a multi-step methodology to collect and synthesise information and to develop new insights on millennials views of potatoes in Ireland, including:

·      A 25-minute online survey of 1,500 adults aged 18+

·      Instore interviews of potato/potato alternative shoppers

·      Focus Groups of millennial grocery shoppers

3. Consumer Categories

·       Generation Z = (18-22 years old)

·       Millennials = (23-37 years old)

·       Generation X = (38-53 years old)

·       Baby Boomers = (54+ years old)

Recipe Inspiration

Sensational Summer Potato Salad Recipe

Ingredients

100g New Season Queen potatoes halved
2 heads of baby gem lettuce (or any leafy lettuce)
30g peas, these can be frozen
30 broad beans, these can be frozen
2 runner beans, sliced
1 mozzarella ball (125g)
4 slices of Parma ham (or sliced ham if preferred)
1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp Dijon mustard
5 sprigs fresh mint

Method

·       Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water until tender, 10 minutes or so. Drain and leave to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.

·       Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil, add the runner beans and broad beans and cook for 3 minutes, add the peas and cook for a further 2 minutes, drain into the colander with the potatoes.

·       Make the dressing by simply mixing the olive oil, lemon and Dijon mustard, season with salt and milled pepper. Take a bowl and toss the potatoes and vegetables in the dressing.

·       Take a large platter plate, cut the baby gem into quarters and arrange onto the plate. Scatter over the vegetables. Tear the mozzarella over the salad and do the same with the Parma ham. Finally, sprinkle over the mint and pour over any remaining dressing and serve.

·       If you don't want to use Parma ham, then sliced ham works just as well. Other vegetables that can be used are courgettes, green beans, asparagus.