New marketing campaign wants young Irish consumers to eat more

A new $1 million marketing campaign has been launched in an effort to boost potato consumption among Irish consumers.

Bord Bia will coordinate and manage the three-year campaign, which will be co-funded by the EU, Ireland’s potato industry and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The initiative will be run in conjunction with the British Potato Council, reports.

Over the 10 years, retail sales of fresh potatoes in Ireland have declined by 25 percent, according to Kantar WorldPanel.

Speaking at the campaign launch on Thursday, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney said: “The potato is part of our culture like no other food, inextricably linked to Ireland’s story and part of who we are.

"This campaign will bring the different varieties and versatility of the Irish potato to a younger generation."

The Minister welcomed the EU Commission’s decision to approve a total fund of €4.6m "to promote potatoes on the Irish and British markets over the next three years of which 50% will be funded by the EU.

"My department is also availing of the opportunity to grant financial support to the Irish potato industry for this positive promotional activity. Combined with industry funding the total campaign will be worth €1m over the three years in Ireland.

Said Mike Neary, Bord Bia’s Horticulture Manager,  said: "Potatoes are still Ireland’s preferred main meal carbohydrate, however shoppers under-45 account for only 33% of potato sales and these consumers will ultimately make up a major part of the total market in the years to come.

"Younger consumers view potatoes as a traditional, unexciting food and less convenient than modern carbs such as pasta and rice.”

The promotional campaign, entitled “Potatoes - more than a bit on the side,” will focus on younger consumers, in particular 22-44 year old females.

“We really need to challenge consumer perceptions of fresh potatoes – particularly amongst younger age groups – in order to combat declining consumption,” said Neary.

“This integrated campaign will highlight the fact that potatoes offer enormous potential within the world of modern cooking and build awareness of the added health and nutritional benefits of potatoes in comparison to competitor carbohydrates."

The campaign kicks off with National Potato Day on Friday, October 2.