Already buoyant sales of frozen jacket potatoes could be further boosted by supermarket expansions into the foodservice sector, the Potato Council has predicted.

Brits are increasingly switching from fresh to frozen jacket potatoes: over the past year, volume sales of frozen jackets have risen by 11.7% and value sales have shot up 21.9% to £41.4m [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 30 March]. Sales of fresh baking potatoes, conversely, have fallen 14.5% in volume, although value sales have continued to rise thanks to retail price inflation.

It was clear that consumers increasingly favoured frozen, said Julie MacLeod, senior analyst at the Potato Council. “This is a meal which fits in strongly with consumer trends, especially time value, Health and value for money, and it’s a very well promoted and heavily branded sector.”

There could be further growth opportunities for retailers, suppliers and growers as supermarkets ramped up their foodservice offers, she added.

“The frozen sector is where we are currently seeing the growth, especially with baked potatoes,” she said. “Potentially, there is an opportunity to be explored by retailers to expand these sales of frozen jacket potatoes as they move into food-to-go foodservice.”

McCain in particular has invested heavily in the frozen potato market, having launched a frozen, ready-to-microwave jacket spud back in 2012.

“The huge growth of the jackets sector since launch has demonstrated that with the right product solution, consumers are willing to change their cooking habits, with many shoppers converting from preparing jacket potatoes from scratch to the convenience of the frozen Ready Baked Jacket,” said McCain Foods marketing director Mark Hodge. “This trend looks to continue.”