Facts and Figures

Facts and Figures

Potatoes have a long and colourful history. They have been linked with black magic, rejected because they were not mentioned in the Bible and sailors once ate them to avoid scurvy at sea. The potato originally came from Peru, South America. It is believed that 8000 years ago, wild poisonous potatoes were domesticated by Indian farmers. In 1532, Spanish explorers learned of this product and it was taken back to Spain where its popularity took off.

The humble spud is cheap, easy to cook, available in most parts of the world and goes with almost any dish. It comes in various varieties, has underpinned periods of economic growth while at the same time has saved nations from effects of war and famine. To acknowledge and celebrate the potato, the United Nations named 2008 the 'International Year of the Potato'. The South Australian Potato Company is absolutely passionate about this fantastic product and is proud to be a farmer and supplier of premium fresh potatoes.

Health Facts:

  • Fat free (when boiled)
  • Cholesterol free
  • High in fibre
  • High in iron
  • Low in calories
  • Low in salt
  • High in potassium – a potato provides twice as much potassium as a banana
  • Good course of Vitamin C- a potato provides half the daily required amount
  • "Potatoes are a nutrient rich food, fat and cholesterol free, very low in salt, high in fibre and a good source of vitamin C" - Dr. Trent Watson, principal consultant dietitian of Clued On Food

Economic/Production Facts:

  • South Australia is the largest producer of potatoes (477,000t), followed by Victoria (322,000t) and Tasmania (311,000t)
  • South Australia produces 34% of national production
  • Value of national potato production was $692 million in 2007/08
  • South Australian potato industry employs over 1500 FTE staff
  • Largest vegetable crop in terms of volume and contribution to national Gross Domestic Product
  • The Southern Mallee Region has been recognised as a national potato growing hub, and has less than 1% unemployment
    ("every house in Pinnaroo is occupied, the birth rate is up and the local school is full" – ABC, 2/4/04)

Consumer Behaviour Facts:

  • Potatoes make up almost 1% of annual household expenditure
  • Annual consumption of fresh potatoes is between 19.44kg and 22.68kg per capita
  • About 36% of National potato production is sold as fresh
  • About 60% of SA potato production is sold as fresh
  • Most consumers prefer washed potatoes that are loose (not pre-pack)
  • Consumed in 125 countries
  • Between 1996 and 2002, per capita consumption grew 46.5% in developing countries, and fell 1.59% in developed countries
  • 60% of consumers use potato "most nights"
  • Global production over the last 10 years has increased at an annual rate of 4.5%
  • Potato has been identified as one of the keys to resolving the global food shortage