A new generic marketing campaign for fresh potatoes kicked off this week with the launch of the first-ever Potato Day.

Potato producers in the UK, France and Belgium are running the 4.75m Many Faces of Potatoes campaign to encourage more people to eat potatoes as a healthy alternative to pasta and rice.

In the UK, the campaign will focus on a 'master spud' recipe competition run with The Sun newspaper, in which participants will compete for the chance to star in a potato television commercial.

Potato Council head of marketing and corporate affairs Caroline Evans said it was hoped the campaign would tackle the "significant drop" in the number of fresh potatoes that were being eaten in British homes.

Food and farming minister Jim Paice said it would be a "boost" to the potato industry.