Potato production since the 1940s has shifted to the Pacific Northwest, with Idaho, Washington, and Oregon now accounting for more than half of U.S. production. Changes in agricultural methods have also resulted in increasingly larger yields per acre.
Major consumer trends over the past 60-plus years include more women working outside the home; more consumer dollars spent in restaurants, with foodservice spending now outpacing retail; at-home dinner frequency dropped for several years (now leveling off); dinner meal composition changing from multi-part meals to simple, quick meals such as pizza; demographic changes that include increases in one- and two-person households, the Hispanic population, and empty nesters and retirees.
Those benefiting from the changing consumer profile are providing convenience products that help consumers get dinner on the table quickly. One success story is the individually wrapped potato, ready for microwaving; another is pre-made mashed potatoes. In addition, a new organization, United of America, is working to manage supply and shipping schedules for more orderly marketing of the crop.