“Our vision is to make potatoes the preferred starch option for all New Zealanders, from home to classrooms cafés and top restaurants.”
One of the first things I was told upon starting working for Potatoes New Zealand was this… “Potatoes do not compete for share of plate with other vegetables. They are competing with other starches; starches that people believe are quicker and easier to prepare!”
Herein lies one of the biggest challenges for the potato industry… How do we get people to push aside the pasta, rices, couscous, quinoa and other grains to consume New Zealand potatoes more regularly.
I’d never pretend to have a conclusive answer but here are some initial thoughts on ways we can push potatoes as the preferred starch options for all New Zealanders.
- Partner with food service training organisations to hero potatoes to the next generation go chefs and food service workers.
- Work with home economics teachers, schools and community programmes to educate people about potato nutrition and encourage potatoes to be feature in school cooking programmes.
- Spotlight the potatoes industry at key events, providing a proactive informative presence.
- Fight the myths that “potatoes are bad for you” with factual nutritional information and expert testimony, through effective engagement campaigns.
- Work with growers, processors and allied suppliers to promote potatoes as the starch hero that everybody loves.
For this to be successful Potatoes New Zealand will need to work closely with strategic partners across the potato, wider horticulture, food service and media industries and of course the regulators. There are too many strategic partners to mention (currently 27) to mention. We will profile some of these strategic partnerships in future updates.
In the media:
There was a fantastic article by Tamar Haspel from Stuff on 14 January entitled Potatoes Get a bad rep. They don’t deserve it. Tamar believes that potatoes get a bad rap because of the ever-changing fad diets and hanging nutritional focuses.
Also pleasing to read was the article in The Southland Times in 11 January discussing New health benefits discovered in the humble spud. “Much maligned in recent years, the humble potato may be back in the dietary good books. A review by the British Nutrition Foundation suggests the vegetable may help control blood sugar, support gut health and help make us feel full and satisfied…”
– Steve Sheppard, Education & Communications Manager, Potatoes NZ.