Sixty stores already committed to quality and presentation scheme with growers Growers, their wives and prepackers are being recruited by the British Potato Council to adopt a local supermarket and liaise with retail managers on quality and presentation in store. But chairman David Walker has stressed that the scheme, which gets under way next month, is not designed to be confrontational. "The objective is to help everyone sell more and show customers that we have a premium product." Through supermarket cooperation, some 60 stores are already committed and more are expected to follow, announced Helen Priestly, BPC's head of marketing and communications speaking at an industry conference at Wyboston, Beds. It was also the platform revealing a new strategy which Walker says growers and packers must adopt to develop category markets to create interest with new packs and more product information to lift consumption. At best sales are moribund and even slipping with deep price cuts making little difference, although multiples continue to win share from each other. Research from Taylor Nelson Sofres reflects a market which is currently static in terms of consumption and becoming increasingly price competitive. Special offers, if they can win market share for retailers, do little else. Karl Jenkins, TN Sofres business group director, showed that while the average retail fresh potato price in 1999 stood at 46p/kg creating sales worth £675m, the corresponding figure last year because of an increased crop dropped by 22% to an average of 37p worth £527m. But despite this, sales fell from 1.45 million tonnes to 1.44 million tonnes. "We also have to question where consumers really care whether potatoes are British or not," he said. "Multiples may also be using them as a loss leader." {{FRESH PRODUCE }}