Thursday 23 November 2017

Humble spud is set for a €1m makeover

Agriculture Minister SimonCoveney launched a new €1m potato marketing campaign for An Bord Bia
Agriculture Minister SimonCoveney launched a new €1m potato marketing campaign for An Bord Bia
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

It's name was synonymous with sedentary inhabitants of the couch and for too long, it lay forlorn and forgotten on the sidelines, elbowed aside by more glamorous newcomers like 'meh' quinoa, bland couscous and virtuous zucchini 'noodles'.

But all that subsisting on unsatisfactory substitutes was in vain because the traditionalists have had the last laugh. Granny's favourite carbohydrate was the healthiest option all along.

Get set to be dazzled all over again by one of our own - the humble spud - which is set to be sexed up with a million-euro makeover to drag it into the 21st century, turning it into the Kardashian of carbs (or should we say 'karbs').

There's even a saucy marketing line: "Potatoes - More than a bit on the Side."

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has launched a new €1m marketing campaign to boost potato consumption amongst Irish consumers, with a three-year drive by An Bord Bia designed to dispel fattening myths surrounding the potato.

Bord Bia is encouraging recipes that include parsley and chili when it comes to ramping up the flavour, rather than the vat of oil.

Despite our culinary tastes embracing pasta and rice in recent times the potato never did lose its top spot as Ireland's preferred carbohydrate.

But the future of the spud was beginning to worry Bord Bia, with shoppers under 45 accounting for just 33pc of potato sales.

Mike Neary, Horticulture Manager, Bord Bia explained that younger consumers view potatoes as a "traditional, unexciting food and less convenient than modern carbs such as pasta and rice".

"The potato is part of our culture like no other food, inextricably linked to Ireland's story and part of who we are," said Mr Coveney.

The minister said the campaign will bring the different varieties and versatility of the potato to a younger generation.

The initiative will be 50pc funded by the EU to "re-establish their relevance within the weekly shopping basket".

The campaign will kick off with National Potato Day on October 2.

Fat-free  and cheap - what's not to love?

  • Potatoes are naturally fat-free, gluten free, salt free and a source of fibre, and potassium. <br/>
  • A potato contains three times more potassium than a banana. <br/>
  • A baked potato in its skin contains more fibre than two slices of wholemeal bread - so they're best eaten 'skin and all'. <br/>
  • Potatoes also contain protein, and nearly twice as much fibre as a small bowl of brown rice. <br/>
  • Potatoes are a very efficient food crop to produce - they are faster growing and need less land and water per unit of food than any other major crop. <br/>
  • Potato Production in Ireland in 2014 was 350,000 tons with a farmgate value of €71m. <br/>
  • Meath, Dublin, Wexford, Louth, Donegal and Cork are the largest potato growing counties in Ireland. <br/>

Irish Independent

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