There are four major markets for potatoes globally:
- processed food products
- animal feed
- industrial uses
Fresh further divides into
- first earlies (immature potatoes harvested as small tubers),
- second earlies, and
The processed potato food market divides into
- frozen and chilled French fries (chips to the British) and
- potato crisps (chips in North America) and
- other processed consumer products including dried potato and potato croquettes.
Across the EU27 roughly half all the potatoes consumed are bought fresh and the
rest as processed products. The processed products market share is increasing but
fresh maincrop potatoes remain the largest single market segment.
The use of potatoes for animal feed, for instance in Poland and Russia, is steadily
declining, being replaced with feeds based on grain and soya that are easier to use
and do not have potatoes’ storage problems.
The main non-food industrial use of potatoes is for starch production, and this is
expanding. New industrial uses are being developed but so far have made only a small
commercial impact, partly because of disease and pest problems in growing the crop.
The relative size of each sector varies considerably from country to country with
an overall trend in Europe and North America towards slowly falling consumption of
maincrop fresh potatoes and rising consumption of processed products. Our long term
intention is to develop a range of varieties suited both to the main end use market
segments and to different day length and climatic conditions.