The German appetite for potatoes has continued to drop, even as per capita consumption of processed potato products like crisps and chips hit record levels, according to newly released government figures, writes German news agency DPA.
Total potato consumption in Germany slumped to a low of just 54.1 kilograms per capita in the 2022-23 marketing year, which ended in June, according to a report from the Federal Institute of Food and Agriculture (BLE) released on Friday.
That’s down 28% since the agency began tracking Germany’s potato consumption in 1990-91, and the lowest figures on record, according to the agency. Back then, the average German ate 75 kilograms of potatoes per year, including nearly 46 kilograms of fresh potatoes.
A spokeswoman for the agency said that the growing popularity of rice and pasta in Germany has helped pushed down demand for potatoes, traditionally a major staple of the German diet.
But potato products like crisps, chips and potato salad have surged in popularity even as Germans increasingly turn away from fresh potatoes. In the most recent marketing year, Germans ate a new per capita record of 37.9 kilograms of potato products – compared to 29.1 kilograms in 1990-91.
This past year, per capita consumption of fresh potatoes was just 16.2 kilograms, the lowest since records began in 1990-91.
The government agricultural agency cited increased demand following the coronavirus pandemic as one reason for the rise in sales of processed potato products. More people are eating out again, said a spokeswoman.
“The fact that potato products, especially frozen products, are usually prepared more quickly than fresh potatoes may also play a role,” she said.
Farmers in Germany produced a total of 10.7 million tons of potatoes in the past year, down a reported 5.6% from the previous year, due to high heat and drought.