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Consumption Data Show Growing Shift Away From White Potatoes Toward Sweet Potatoes

July 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Sweet potato farmers in the U.S., the largest exporter of the starchy orange tubers, are experiencing a boom, thanks to soaring demand both here and in Europe. This year they are planting their largest crop in 50 years after overseas shipments doubled in five years. Once a staple only of the Thanksgiving dinner table, sweet potatoes are appearing much more frequently in home cooking and on restaurant menus. Americans still eat a lot more white potatoes, in the form of French fries, or baked or mashed. But demand is sliding, and the slack is being picked up by sweet potatoes. Consumption of white potatoes was 113.7 pounds per person last year, down from 125.4 pounds in 2005. Meanwhile, in 2015, consumers ate 7.5 pounds of sweet potatoes, up from 4.5 pounds in 2005 and 3.7 pounds in 2002, according to the USDA.
Megan Durisin, "The Hip, Orange Super Food Increasingly Displacing French Fries", Bloomberg, July 19, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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