Potato Power! Irish potato sales up 24% ahead of National Potato Day

Bord Bia promotes potatoes as fuel for active lifestyles this National Potato Day

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Potato Power! Irish potato sales up 24% ahead of National Potato Day

GAA Stars Sarah Rowe and Sinead Goldrick have teamed up with Bord Bia to celebrate National Potato Day on Friday October 2, and to promote potatoes as fuel for optimum sports performance.

Tomorrow Friday 2nd October, is Bord Bia’s National Potato Day - the annual celebration of one of Ireland’s favourite foods, the versatile and delicious potato! 

With Irish potato sales up 24% since March, there has never been a better time to celebrate one of our most important crops.

This year Bord Bia has teamed up with GAA Stars - Mayo’s Sarah Rowe and Dublin’s Sinead Goldrick - to promote potatoes as fuel for optimum sports performance. Bord Bia has also created a range of recipe videos highlighting simple kitchen skills which will allow people to expand their potato recipe repertoire.

Check out their delicious 'Skin-on Potato Wedges' recipe - HERE

“The growth in potato sales began in in March this year as more Irish people began cooking and eating at home as a result of the lockdown. Initially people seemed to be turning to more traditional ingredients as they sought comfort foods but quite quickly, they began looking for ways to expand their cooking repertoire as they found that they had more time at home," commented Bord Bia's Fresh Produce and Potato Manager, Lorcan Bourke, on the increase in the volume of sales.

"The exciting thing about potatoes is that once you have a potato in your home – you have the starting point for a huge range of delicious meals.

"This year’s National Potato Day campaign seeks to help home cooks to expand their knowledge and cooking skills when it comes to potatoes as a key meal ingredient. We also want to show people that potatoes are quicker and healthier to prepare with their skins left on, as well as being really quick to cook once they are chopped into smaller pieces.

"So we are encouraging everyone this National Potato Day to cook up a different potato recipe, learn a new potato cooking skill, and most importantly, enjoy a delicious potato dish!”

Dietitian Orla Walsh has worked with Irish athletes in the lead up to the Rio Olympics and Paralympics in her role as Performance Nutritionist with Athletics Ireland. Orla believes that potatoes are an excellent natural ingredient for a nutritionally complete diet to fuel active lifestyles and she highlights ten key ways they contribute to sports performance.

Orla Walsh’s 10 Reasons to Fuel with Potatoes for Sport:

1. Sports Performance. “Potatoes are an ideal source of carbohydrate which is the fuel we run on. They are incredibly important for sports performance and in contributing to the recovery of muscle function.”

2. Quick digestion. “As they are naturally low fat and high in carbohydrate, potatoes are beneficial for pre-match/training as they can be digested quickly and converted into fuel for the body.”

3. Hydration. “The fluids we drink help keep us hydrated, but so does the water within our food. As potatoes are pulled straight from the soil they naturally contain a lot of water. For example, a boiled new potato is 82% water!”

4. Muscle & nerve function. “Potatoes are a great source of potassium which plays a central role in muscle and nerve function. Getting the right balance is a key focus in sports nutrition.”

5. Salt-free. “Lots of Irish people eat too much sodium through salt. So it’s helpful that potatoes are naturally salt-free. When potatoes contain salt it is because we have added it! Instead, teaching athletes to use some tasty, nutritious herbs and spices instead of salt is beneficial.”

6. Protein. “Protein contributes to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass as well as keeping our bones healthy. About 10% of the calories of potatoes come from protein.”

7. Calorie intake - fresh potatoes are fat-free. “You can tailor how to enjoy potatoes in response to your current energy needs. Depending on the type of potato, 2 medium potatoes provide just 160 to 185 calories. The quantity and quality of the fat added to the potato is left up to the athlete.”

8. Brain Function. “Carbohydrates are the main fuel for our brain function which helps to keep movements coordinated, the mind focussed and speed and accuracy of thoughts sharp.”

9. Versatility. “What makes potatoes an ideal carbohydrate source for sport is that they are also incredibly versatile. They can be eaten in so many different ways, keeping the athlete interested!”

10. Potatoes are delicious! “When it comes to adequate fueling, it’s vital that the fuel source is tasty! Potatoes are a delicious eaten in so many different ways!”

Bord Bia has also created a series of short videos which demonstrate simple cooking tips needed to create a range of tasty and quick potato recipes in minutes. These videos and tasty recipe ideas are being shared on Bord Bia’s social media channels and www.bordbia.ie/potatoes.