Baked potatoes are now the fastest-growing evening meal choice for Brits.
According to data from Kantar Worldpanel, fresh baked potatoes grew twice as fast as curry in terms of dinnertime popularity in 2014, taking centre stage at an additional 103 million evening meal occasions.
Last May, The Grocer reported consumers were ditching fresh baked potatoes for frozen options, but the latest data suggests there has been strong growth in both categories over the full 12 months of 2014.
Potato Council senior analyst Julie Macleod said fresh sales had bounced back, contributing to a general surge in baked potato consumption.
“Sales of fresh baking potatoes have been recovering, up 1.9% in volume sales in the 52 weeks to 1 March 2015, with volumes purchased per trip up 2.2% year on year,” she said.
In contrast, the total potato category continued to decline last year, and dishes such as shepherd’s pie, roast dinners and savoury pies all proved less popular.
This reflects a wider trend of people shunning carbs, with pasta meals down 4% and bread showing “significant decline”.
Rebecca Hughes, consumer insight analyst at AHDB Market Intelligence, said baked potatoes were bucking the overall trend because they were viewed as an “affordable, filling and tasty” meal, which was also convenient because it involved little preparation and cooking.
They were also thought of as a healthier option than mashed or roasted spuds, she added.