(July 7) DENVER — Taiwanese consumers have an appetite for U.S. fresh potatoes. That’s the finding of a consumer preference study conducted by the Denver-based U.S. Potato Board.

The study, paid for by U.S. Department of Agriculture Market Access Program funding, shows how many Taiwanese consumers who don’t regularly consume potatoes are open to trying a wide variety of potatoes, said John Toaspern, the potato board’s vice president of international marketing.

“All of Asia is a promising area for fresh potatoes,” he said. “A lot of this is adapting how we market U.S. potatoes to what consumers in Taiwan are interested in. There’s a willingness and openness to experiment. People are eating less rice. They’re looking for alternative types of meals.”

The study, conducted with focus groups, focused on women who cook at home at least two times a week. Focus groups concentrated on regular potato users and nonusers.

People who use potatoes regularly said they preferred yellow-flesh varieties and local potatoes, while nonusers preferred round reds and fingerlings, the study found.

The study also found that Taiwanese consumers don’t prefer Western-style recipes since baked potatoes take too long to prepare and do not fit into their rice-based diet.

However, as Taiwan’s consumption of rice declines, Toaspern said he expects potato products to increase in popularity.