on Friday, 11 September 2020. Posted in Blog & News

Total economic losses from potato production and processing in 2020, stemming from the demand shocks of COVID-19, are expected to amount to roughly $1 billion dollars in gross state product.

The WSPC asked the IMPACT Center of the School of Economic Sciences at Washington State University to identify the economic harm to the potato sector in Washington State resulting from COVID-19 virus demand and supply chain disruptions. The study also discusses the potential tax impacts on the state and the primary backward links in the supply chain that are negatively affected by the reduction in potato production and processing.

Washington’s potato growers and processors have been adversely affected due to the prolonged restaurant closures and associated fall in demand for their product. The fall in demand has been a shock not only directly for farmers and processors but for all the vendors in their specialized supply chains.

In all, farmers have lost roughly $29.2 million dollars from the decline in demand and quality for their 2019 harvest. They have reduced potato acreage for their 2020 growing season by 13%. That loss in acreage amounts to roughly 729,120 tons of potatoes, equivalent to the weight of about 76 Space Needles.

Net impacts from this change in acreage and spending has resulted in $270.4 million in lost productivity to the state. Processors that have seen the demand for products like french fries, hash browns, mashed potatoes, etc. plummet, have had to watch their spending plummet in lockstep. Lost processing activity has resulted in $714.3 million in lost productivity statewide. 

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Encouraging school foodservice operators to use more poatoes

Encouraging school foodservice operators to use more poatoes

As America’s Favorite Vegetable, potatoes can help provide students with the nutrients and energy they need to do their best during the school day. That’s why it’s important to remind school foodservice operators that potatoes are not only delicious, but also cost-effective and a nutritious addition to the school menu. In partnership with the School Nutrition Association (SNA), two webinars featured potatoes.  The first webinar, “Maximize Your Menus and Minimize Labor Constraints with Potatoes”, showcased potatoes through on-trend, student-friendly menu innovations and solutions to ease labor strains. The second webinar, “Fun Summer Feeding with Potatoes”, showcased how putting potatoes at the center of the plate can enhance summer feeding programs in fresh and fun ways. Both webinars included a live cooking demonstration with Potatoes USA Culinary Director Chef RJ Harvey, RD and Award-Winning Author Dayle Hayes, MS, RD. The demonstrations were pre-recorded in the Potatoes USA Spud Lab and were a big hit with the participants. Webinars Key Takeaways: Nutritional benefits of potatoes at an affordable price How potatoes can limit food waste Ways potatoes can take over as the center of the plate How serving potatoes to children over the summer can be fun Upon webinar completion, attendees were able to earn continuing education credits. All recipes and resources utilized in the webinar are available on the SNA website for future download. Following are some quotes from the operators who were very engaged in the webinar chat. “My favorite Webinar I’ve seen so far this year. VERY helpful and insightful. Well Done!”  “Love Dayle and RJ as a team. Can they please start a cooking youtube series? ‘Dayle and RJ: Potatoes for All!’” “Great webinar, gained new ideas for using potatoes. Thank you!” SNA is recognized as the authority on school nutrition and utilizes weekly webinars to educate their 50,000+ members. For more information on K-12 School Foodservice marketing activities, email potatoesraisethebar@potatoesusa.com.

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