The National Potato Council held its virtual summer meeting last Thursday. During a potato industry and COVID-19 update, United Potato Growers of America President and CEO Mark Klompien reviewed demand and pricing for fresh red potatoes. Klompien said shipping started off strong in 2020 and strengthened at the beginning of the pandemic. “However, the Red River Valley didn’t have enough volume to report after the early part of May. The region had a significant loss of potatoes last fall, losing about 40 percent of the crop,” said Klompien. “Their volumes were well below the three-year average except for the few weeks at the beginning of the pandemic.” Potatoes USA Chief Marketing Officer John Toaspern gave an update on retail sales of potatoes. Retail fresh potato sales increased 44 percent in the first few months of the pandemic, with russet potatoes seeing the largest growth and fresh red sales not as robust due to supply.
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