Potato — NO.1 Staple Food in the Irish Diet

Irish potatoes

It is well known that potato is the number one staple item in the Irish national diet. In areas where the crop did extremely well, the potato was the only staple food. People eat only potatoes three meals a day, while male farmworkers consumed 12-14 pounds of potatoes daily. In the year 1845, the crop failure of potatoes took place in Ireland, resulting in the mass emigration of Irish people to countries in the United States, Canada, England, Australia, and other countries. The consequent famine decimated the population and major social and political changes were aroused in Ireland in the next century. Until quite recently the potato was unchallenged as the most important source of carbohydrate in the Irish diet.

Potato Production in Ireland

Irish Farmers’ Association(IFA in short) has conducted a survey of the potato industry over the growing seasons of 2009-2011. From the following table, we can have a view of the potato production conditions in Ireland.
Potato — Production Area(ac) And Production Tonnage 

Year Production Area Production Tonnage
2009 27620 370278.7
2010 26869 436028.8
2011 23403 375774

Source: Irish Farmers’ Association

ireland potato processing for fries

Processed Market in Ireland

Convenience has become a very important consideration in relation to consumers’ choice of processed potato products. Modern consumption patterns lead to reduced consumption of fresh potatoes and a move to processed products such as French fries, frozen chips, etc. People process raw potatoes to alter their nature and extend shelf life.
Like in other European chipping industries, large multinational brands exist in the frozen chip market in Ireland. The country has no indigenous operation that is internationally competitive, except that some smaller operations serve to meet local and domestic market needs. In the potato crisps market, Ireland has two of the leading brands/manufacturers. And although the market for specialty frozen potato products is small, its potential is developing. Small niche markets exist to supply them to the Irish retail and catering markets.
If you start a french fries production line in Ireland, you will have a huge opportunity to make a profit.

Prepared Market in Ireland

More and more consumer demand for quality convenience food products. This pushes the growth of the convenience and prepared potato market, resulting in strong demand for the peeled prepared whole or sliced/diced potatoes and potato salad deli-items. At the same time, most urban areas and tourist centers in Ireland have seen the establishment of new hotels, new restaurants, and other catering outlets. The increase in the importance of restaurants and catering outlets has further grown the demand for ready-to-use potato products.