Potato Research Reveals Consumers Want the Sweet Life

Aviko Foodservice

Aviko

Premium Supplier 15th March 2018

Potato Research Reveals Consumers Want the Sweet Life

Demand for sweet potato is at an all-time high amongst UK consumers, with 85% saying they would choose a sweet potato side over a regular potato dish.

The latest research* from Aviko, the potato specialists, shows the popularity of sweet potato is due to a variety of reasons including a third of consumers believing sweet potato is healthier, 30% preferring the taste and 23% simply opting for something different when dining out-of-home.

Mohammed Essa, General Manager UK and Ireland, Aviko, explains:
“The growing appeal of sweet potato demonstrates it is an opportune time for chefs to introduce a variety of sweet potato options on menus. Whether for health reasons, taste preference or wishing to be adventurous when eating out, it is clear that consumers enjoy sweet potato and the more choice that can be provided the better.”

“This especially rings true in light of our new survey findings which uncovered that a staggering 66% of UK consumers do not think there are currently enough sweet potato options available. By simply adding a selection of sweet potato dishes, operators can appeal to the wide group of diners who are looking for greater variety.”

With a high proportion of consumers willing to swap their regular potato for a sweet potato side it is clear that demand is high. Alongside the desire to see more sweet potato dishes on menus, it is important for operators to note that 45% of people are willing to pay up to 50p more for sweet potato over regular potato dishes. With the opportunities for increased profitability, it is a great time for chefs and caterers to consider sweet potato when planning menus.

Mohammed adds:
“Our insight shows that two thirds of consumers want to see more sweet potato choices on menus and that they are willing to pay a premium for them. This makes sweet potato a simple option for operators who are looking to drive margins and excite customers at the same time.”

“The great news for chefs and caterers is that the demand for sweet potato is not restricted to one particular market. Casual dining is the common choice with 72% of consumers expecting to see sweet potato dishes available; however there is also an expectation for pubs (57%), fine dining (41%) and quick serve restaurants (30%) to offer a selection of dishes. It just goes to show the wide-appeal that sweet potato can have.”

It is not only the out-of-home market where sweet potato is popular, as a significant 69% of UK consumers have recently eaten sweet potato at home. With so many consumers willing to introduce sweet potato into their diets at home, it is widely becoming an attractive choice that operators should be mirroring.

Although unsurprisingly 60% of UK consumers would expect to eat sweet potato with burgers and wraps, there are still 41% who would eat sweet potato with salad and 31% who would like to see it used in stews. Sweet potato fries may be the common ‘go to’, but there is a demand to offer different types of sweet potato such as gratin and diced to add something exciting and different to menus.

Mohammed continues:
“While sweet potato fries are becoming a standard menu item, the demand for innovation means sweet potato will find its way onto menus in different forms. Perfect as an accompaniment to a main course such as a roast, burger or steak, or as an addition to light bite menus, the vibrant and versatile sweet potato can also enhance a range of dishes as an ingredient, in salads and wraps, as well as curries and stews.

“Aviko has a wide range of sweet potato products available from fries to diced, we’re not only the top choice in blind taste tests, but when it comes to yield and holding time research has proven we can’t be beaten - so operators can enjoy the sweet life as much as their customers!”^

Aviko has summarised the findings of the latest research in a new infographic and also detailed the insight in a video, which can be watched here.

Dedicated to foodservice and one of the biggest potato processors in the world, Aviko offers a range of chilled and frozen potato specialities made by chefs, for chefs including Hash Browns and innovative Hash Brown Bites, Premium Fries, Mash, Diced Sweet Potato and much more.

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