The health benefits of the common spud are to be the focus of a wide-ranging consumer campaign urging the public to 'Love Potatoes.'

The campaign aims to highlight the nutritional benefits of potatoes over rice and pasta, as well as their cost effectiveness and convenience. Potatoes contained 10 times more potassium than pasta and were rich in iron, organisers said .

A national, regional and consumer press campaign will be backed by support from model Nell McAndrew, financial expert Jasmine Birtle and food historian Ivan Day. A nationwide tour kicked off this week and will run throughout the summer, visiting county shows, farmers' markets and retail car parks.

"With Love Potatoes we aim to make it clear that potatoes can deliver all of today's family meal requirements - taste, versatility, health and enjoyment, as well as being easy to prepare and superb value for money," said Potato Council marketing director Kathryn Race.