Same bang for the buck
Potatoes are one commodity with consistent prices compared to last year, or year before
Potatoes are one commodity with consistent prices compared to last year or year before.
The price that consumers pay for many kinds of produce has greatly increased over the past year. Food analysts point in particular, to imported produce, greatly affected by the lowest exchange rate experienced by the Canadian Looney in 12 years.
Potatoes, however, are one commodity with consistent prices compared to last year or even the year before. So why is it that at the potato stand in the produce aisle, potatoes cost approximately the same as they did a year ago at this time?
A couple of reasons are evident: potatoes are often used by the produce category in the grocery store to attract customers into the store. Displays are usually at the front of the supermarket catching your eye as you enter after picking up your cart.
Potatoes are one of the top earning categories contributing to the profit margin of the retail grocery chains. Retailers do this by keeping the retail price consistent and competitive with other stores.
What does change, however, is the price paid to the primary producers — the people who actually grew the potatoes.
Much to the chagrin of the growers, it is often difficult to raise the price of potatoes paid by national chains.
Grocers get used to paying lower prices for their consumer bags in years of over supply, and it becomes difficult to raise that price in years where supply matches demand or even when demand exceeds supply.
When potatoes are advertised on special in grocery store flyers (“on ad”) grocery stores often ask shippers to provide the food at a lower price so that retail margins can be maintained.
Nutritionally, shoppers also have to realize that potatoes are a pretty good bang for your buck; more potassium than a banana helps the heart and zero grams of fat (unless you add a topping to it) helps the waistline. It has been proven over time that potatoes have the ability to feed families in times of economic downturn.
We live in an interesting world. Oil is the backbone of our Canadian economy yet today a barrel of oil is worth $27.51, while a bucket of chicken from a fast food restaurant is worth $28.75.
So satisfy your own curiosity. The next time you’re in your favorite grocery store, ask your produce manger what a bag of similar brand spuds was worth a year ago. If it is $4.99/10lb. this year, it likely was $4.99/10lb. last year.
The really neat thing about fresh Canadian potatoes in 2016 is that the supply is very well matched to your needs — not too many, but not a shortage either.
As you wheel your cart around exploring all the purchase options for a food experience for your family, don’t forget about the opportunity that Canadian spuds provide for you across the country — all the way from P.E.I. to B.C.