22 September 2023
New campaign seeks to improve knowledge of potato sector.
EUROPE is launching a €3.2 million campaign over three years in France and Italy to teach people about sustainable practices in the fresh potato sector.
The information campaign is designed to inform consumers about good practices that often go unnoticed. It is being supported by the European Union, which is funding 80% of its costs, and will run for three years.
In France, it is being run by the Comité National Interprofessionnel de la Pomme de Terre – a nationwide intertrade organisation representing professionals across the potato sector – while in Italy, it is being run by the Unione Nazionale tra le Associazioni dei Produttori di Patate (the union of potato producer associations of Italy). Its aim is to showcase various initiatives and the environmental progress being made across the sector to provide consumers with enough quality produce year round.
It draws on findings of a survey conducted online between April 18th April and May 2nd 2023, targeting a sample of 1,000 French people and 1,000 Italians aged 35 to 49 years old, all potato consumers and in charge of food shopping in their household.
The survey revealed that 72% of French consumers and 84% of Italian consumers would like to know more about the sector’s commitments, while almost half of that (30% and 48% respectively) felt they had a good knowledge of the sector’s environmental commitments.
The vast majority of potatoes sold in France and Italy are actually produced by those countries, but around a quarter of those interviewed weren't aware of this (28% and 27% respectively). Almost a third in both countries did not know potatoes can be stored for several months before going on sale in special conditions.
Director of the CNIPT, Florence Rossillion, said: “The whole French potato sector is involved in this unifying initiative, the aim being to get professionals and consumers to engage in discussion transparently about this flagship staple in our diet. At every stage of the process, from the field to the retail outlets, as well as at storage, packaging and logistics facilities, numerous virtuous initiatives have been in place for many years now, all designed to ensure that our potatoes are sustainable. Protect the environment, adapt to climate change, save the planet’s natural resources, prevent wastage, provide a high-quality product that is available all year round and provide professionals with support at each and every stage: we endeavour to do this every day and the result is potatoes that are both tasty and sustainable.
"The aim of this campaign is to let consumers know about this and to go even further by involving them. That involves educating and informing them, and giving them more and more reasons to love potatoes.”
Director of the UNAPA, Fausto Bosca, said it is important for consumers to be aware of how sustainable the industry's practices are, and the
quality of the products grown.
"Between now and 2025, our aim is to get increasing numbers of Italians to discover and appreciate authentic products, such as our European sustainably-grown potatoes. This is made possible because of R&D, the digitalisation of tools and consumers deciding to purchase more eco-friendly products," he said.
"We engage in sustainable practices on an ongoing basis, such as crop rotation, controlling our water consumption and – obviously – making increased use of renewable energies. We have also committed to play our part in tackling food wastage. For example, we have found alternative commercial uses
for outsized potatoes. As potato producers, we are actively engaged in this mission, and will continue to honour our commitments to
improve our work day after day.”
The campaign will consist of special events and tools, information on social networks, a dedicated website, a special corner at the 2024 and 2025 editions of the Paris International Agricultural Show in France and events at retail outlets in Italy.