Potato insights 21 October 2014

The advance of
the potato

The potato is attracting more and more interest in the world. And that advance will continue for a while according to Robert Graveland, R&D Manager at HZPC. Will the potato become the world’s food crop number one?

Topper in sustainability

A large proportion of the world population regularly eats potatoes. The total yield in 2014 is expected to be 370 million tons. The potato scores high as a world food crop, but cereals are no. 1, and that while 85% of the potato plant is utilised, which is much lower for cereals. ‘Sustainability is the balance between in and output, and that’s why the potato scores really high. Years of variety breeding have resulted in potato crops that can do with less fertiliser and fewer crop protection chemicals and produce higher yields per square metre. This is also sustainable: produce more with fewer chemicals’ according to Robert Graveland.

The potato of the future

Graveland thinks that the potato has a bright future. In his view, well-known traditional varieties will be replaced by stronger types with new characteristics in the coming two decades. "There will be stronger plants that are less prone to disease and can manage with less water and fertilisation. Plants with higher yields and fewer wastage losses in the chain. The potato is an excellent addition to, or even a replacement for, cereals (bread) and, after rice, will become the second biggest food crop in the world. The potato of the future may also have different-coloured flesh and even more healthy nutrients."

“Did you know that a freshly-harvested potato has as much vitamin C as an orange?”

Potato is super healthy

The potato is sometimes given a bad image in diets. You can leave the potato out if you want to lose weight quickly, but after that you need to start eating a balanced diet again. Those who don’t eat potatoes, may start suffering from shortages in carbohydrates and other important nutrients. Potatoes are part of a healthy and balanced eating pattern. A potato is full of vitamins, has a perfect amino acid ‘superfood’ profile, is gluten-free, and doesn’t contain cholesterol or fat. And if you eat the potato in the skin, it’s a particularly high-fibre vegetable.