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Pandemics & Potatoes: Best Spuds

The U.S. saw five-year record high retail potato sales in 2020.

So what drove Americans to the produce aisle to pick up uber amounts of tubers? The pandemic.

During shutdowns, folks sought out fruit and vegetables with longer shelf lives. From April to June, spuds saw their largest increases in sales. And all months saw 9% or greater growth in both dollars and volume.

While all potato options saw the lift, Americans served up a heapin’ helpin’ of instant mashed potatoes, as dehydrated potatoes were the category leader.

The boost breakdown:

  • 30% spike in dehydrated potato sales.
  • 23% jump in frozen potato sales.
  • 21% swell in fresh potato sales.


In fact, the only spuds that didn’t see double-digit growth were deli-prepared sides. Apparently, potato salad wasn’t on the menu.

+ Idaho is happy. While the pandemic originally wreaked havoc on small Idaho farmers, major increases in potato sales, higher late-year milk prices, and record sugar beet yields gave The Gem State the highest net farm income on record.