The Persecution of the Potato

Americans are eating fewer potatoes, but is that a bad thing?

By 
Lindsey Ramsey, Contributing Editor

I came across an article this morning that got me thinking about the time-honored favorite vegetable of my generation, the potato. The article presented findings from a study conducted by the Alliance for Potato Research and Education (APRE), which obviously has an agenda of its own, but the findings were interesting nonetheless.

The study reported that school-aged children consumed, on average, 3% or less of calories per day from all types of white potatoes, including baked, boiled, mashed and french fried. Children consumed, on average, less than 1% of their daily caloric intake from white potatoes at school. Those trends continue into adulthood, according to the study; adult males between the ages of 19 and 30 get an average of 92 calories per day (3.3% of their total calories) from white potatoes, based on information obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Men over the age of 71 get the same percentage of calories from potatoes, but due to a decrease in overall food consumption, they get just 63 calories from the starch in an average day. Likewise, the study found that adult women over the age of 19 get 52 calories, or less than 3% of their daily intake, from potatoes.

So we are eating less potatoes, but is that really a problem? According to the article it is. It cited information given by Dr. Adam Drewnowski and colleagues from the University of Washington, who presented research at the American Dietetic Association’s (ADA) Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE), which demonstrated that potatoes were one of the best nutritional values in the produce department, providing significantly better nutritional value per dollar than most other raw vegetables.

All this talk of potatoes got me thinking of the vegetable's place in non-commercial foodservice, espeically considering all the news surrounding the new school meal pattern. Congress decision not to limit the use of white potatoes as a vegetable caused a bit of an uproar in the school food community earlier this year, but the potatoes survived. There is no doubt there has been a concerted effort made to swap out traditional white potatoes for other varieties and other vegetables for health reasons, even though white potatoes have plenty of nutritional benefits of their own.

In light of this study I want to throw the question out to non-commerical operators. Are you serving more or less potatoes than you were a few years ago? Why? Why not? Do you believe the hype that eating less potatoes is a bad thing? Let us know in the comments or email me at lramsey@cspnet.com.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Foodservice operators and other employers in New York City are adjusting to a new law that enforces paid time off for staff who have been the victims of certain crimes.

Called paid safe leave, the benefit is believed to be among the first of its kind in the nation. A more limited version has been in effect in Minneapolis since last summer.

The New York law applies to employees who have been the victims of actual or threatened domestic violence, unwanted sexual contact, stalking or human trafficking.

Workers can also opt for safe paid leave if a member of their...

Industry News & Opinion

A Massachusetts bill to end lunch shaming has been stalled in the House, reports South Coast Today.

The House chair of the Education Committee voted on Tuesday for further study of the bill, which would prevent schools from throwing away hot lunches and/or serving an alternative meal to students behind on lunch payments. Under the bill, schools would also be unable to bar students with unpaid balances from participating in extracurricular activities.

Additionally, the bill asks schools to take action in reducing families’ meal debt by helping families apply for free or...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of California, Santa Cruz is converting its Cowell Coffee Shop into a “multi-service basic needs cafe” to aid students facing food insecurity .

The new cafe is being created through a partnership with dining services, the school’s center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems and UCSC’s Cowell College. Due to open at the start of the fall semester, the lower part of the cafe will continue to be a study space for students (with free coffee and tea) and will also host nutrition and financial wellness programming.

Upstairs, the kitchen will be used as a...

Managing Your Business
quitting job

What prompts foodservice managers to clean out their offices and head out with a last paycheck? A new survey suggests the triggers may be changing with the times.

The canvass of 2,000 restaurant professionals, conducted by placement firm Gecko Hospitality, shows lifestyle issues abounding among the top 10 reasons for parting with a restaurant employer last year.

Here are the gender-specific lists:

Top 10 reasons female managers leave

1. Better opportunity

2. Unemployed

3. Relocation

4. Not satisfied

5. No growth

6. Long...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code