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Inform

7 July 2011

What is ‘inform’?

Inform is about influencing key stakeholders and anyone with an interest in food and the potato industry. The Potato industry has a good news story to tell about the healthiness of potatoes and how they are grown in GB. Potatoes are a local, naturally low-fat product that are nutritious, especially when compared to other carbohydrates like rice and pasta – this is important and a great story to share. In Autumn 2011 we held a round table event with the FPSA (the Fresh Potato Suppliers Association) and chaired by the British Nutrition Foundation, key stakeholders including Government departments, nutritionists, retailers, academics, and food and drink trade associations took part in the debate, 'Are potatoes becoming a thing of the past?Potatoes had great support as a valuable source of nutrition and carbohydrate.  ''

                          

Potatoes had good support as a valuable source of nutrition and carbohydrate. 

What is the benefit to the industry from this work?

Food security and obesity are high on the political agenda – potatoes have an important role to play. AHDB Potatoes regularly present the story of the industry to stakeholders such as policy developers, NGOs, the media (and consumers), and opinion formers. This work helps us to build positive relationships and networks with stakeholders that help spread the reach of our key messages to a broader audience and build a good reputation. Informing stakeholders about the potato industry is also about presenting the evidence of what the industry contributes to GB and the effects of this in local communities. Potato production in the UK sustains local jobs and it has developed integrated supply chains that are quick responding to consumer needs.  AHDB Potatoes view this work as very important to the industry – it helps to lead and support the ‘voice’ of the industry in key themes such as health, sustainability, environment and any other requests from the media. Our work in this area also helps to give consistent messages to key stakeholders and develop industry positions and responses.

What have been the successes?

We have challenged policy makers about the references made to potatoes in the public domain and have been successful in getting potatoes listed in a more favourable way - including potatoes as a carbohydrate choice and nutritious meal option. We have worked with the School Food Trust in providing more versatile and tasty potato dishes for schools and the Fruit and Vegetable Task Force, which seeks to get more people eating greater amounts of fruit and vegetables.

What is the work based on? Evidence…

Our work is based on evidence  and use of retail and industry data. We work with researchers, academic and nutrition experts to build the evidence base to show that potatoes are nutritious and valuable to GB as a source of food.

We have worked with independent nutrition experts to draft compelling evidence about the nutritional benefits of the potato. Two independent, peer-reviewed articles have been produced by the British Nutrition Foundation. The publication is used by nutrition experts, as well as academics, hospitals, GPs, teachers, policy makers, government departments and the media. Last year, the publication covered an article about, ‘An overview of the role of potatoes in the UK diet’, more recently, it published an article about, ‘Potato consumption in the UK – why is ‘meat and two veg’ no longer the traditional British meal’ (December, 2010).

I want to be involved, how can I do this?

We have two pocket-sized booklets that help explain to anyone with an interest in potatoes and the industry about sustainability of the crop and the nutritional benefits of potatoes for health and to the nation. To request copies of these booklets, please email: potatoes.marketing@ahdb.org.uk  These booklets are particularly useful if you are inviting visitors to your business and wish to talk about broader issues around potatoes.