COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Potatoes are back.

That was president Tim O’Connor’s message March 10 at the U.S. Potato Board’s annual meeting in Colorado Springs.

The evidence of potatoes’ resurgence is in the latest consumption data from NPD Group, which O’Connor received in the last few days. Potato consumption was up in 2010 from the previous year, he said, for the first time since the early 2000s, as the potato industry suffered a negative association with low-carb diets.

Not only that, but the board’s tracking of “net negative” consumer impressions of potatoes showed only 18% negative impressions in January, a drop from 35% in 2004.

“This was our single-biggest problem in the last seven years,” O’Connor said.

The double good news of improved consumer attitude and increased annual eatings at all three meals are welcome news to the potato industry, which has had its share of bad news in the last few years, he said.

Potatoes see positive signs on two fronts

Greg Johnson

Tim Feit, (left) marketing director of the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association Inc., Antigo, talks with Mike Carter, chief executive officer of Bushmans’ Inc., Rosholt, Wis., March 10 at the U.S. Potato Board’s annual meeting in Colorado Springs, Colo.