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One Voice

The Media

22 November 2013

Maximise positive coverage for potatoes and neutralise the negative

AHDB Potatoes acts as the press office for the British potato industry, answering media enquiries, working with production companies and journalists to secure positive coverage and providing protection from negative stories.

AHDB Potatoes works closely with the NFU, NFUS and others when issues arise, making sure we all share a common position and minimise any negative impact.

AHDB Potatoes deals with researchers from many TV production companies pitching ideas for stories and supporting their development. One example of this is BBC’s ‘Britain’s Favourite Supermarket Foods’. A year before the programme aired, we started working with them, providing information from our ‘Wonderfuel’ campaign.  The result was a whole segment dedicated to potatoes, describing them as a ‘superfood’ for health. The programme provided AHDB Potatoes with a wonderful opportunity to educate consumers about the nutritional benefi ts of potatoes, reaching a wide audience and providing potatoes with a significant awareness boost.  The coverage reached 3.7 million people with a PR value of £1.3 million.  

Contact from Trading Standards in Scotland raised the alarm for a potentially damaging and sensationalist story regarding new potatoes, which resulted in crisis management strategies being put into place at AHDB Potatoes.  The response included development of a standard industry definition working with retailers, growers and suppliers to provide a practical solution. This also helped reduce shopper confusion and highlighted when new potatoes can be enjoyed at their seasonal best. The new definition allows for a minor name change, such as simply moving to retailing packs of ‘baby’ potatoes, when new are not in season. Management of the media resulted in changing a very damaging story into mainly positive, with some neutral, coverage.

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