Potatoes more important to Scots than alcohol

The humble potato is seen by 94 per cent of the survey as a versatile food
The humble potato is seen by 94 per cent of the survey as a versatile food
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A new study has revealed that Scots are more likely to forego alcohol or dessert than deny potatoes a place on our tables.

A poll has found nearly half of all Scots (46 per cent) would abstain from alcohol and 38 per cent would ditch dessert rather than have a meal without potatoes.

The poll, commissioned by the Potatoes: More Than A Bit On The Side campaign, is part of research commissioned by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and Ireland’s Bord Bia.

The report has even identified a select group of potato diehards who would choose potatoes as part of their desert island dinner (17 per cent) and on their deathbed (34 per cent). Of the sample surveyed, 91 per cent said that potatoes had to feature in at least one meal per day.

Kate Cox, Marketing Manager for AHDB Potatoes, said: “In 2015, it’s clear that the Scottish public still has a love affair with potatoes and there are some meals where we expect them to be served on a regular basis. However, this nostalgic affection also brings a reputation, particularly amongst young women, that potatoes are a traditional food and not relevant in modern cooking, which is a real challenge.

“Healthy eating is paramount in today’s food market and potatoes can sometimes be forgotten in modern and ‘on trend’ recipes. They are the original superfood and it would be fantastic to see more people in Scotland creating different meals with them. Potatoes are naturally fat-free and nutritious, as well as being quick and easy to prepare and cook with.”

A large majority of respondents believed that potatoes were necessary companions to certain dishes such as roast dinner, with 80 per cent agreeing. Despite their widespread adoration, potatoes are not seen as being at the edge of food fashions, with half the respondents believing them to be unfashionable.

Over one third of people confessed to sticking to what they know with their potato dishes, pairing the same kind of spud with the same meal time and again. This explains why the most sought after food pairings include fish and chips at 37 per cent and sausage and mash (16 per cent). Boiled potatoes are made the most often, with roast potatoes the least made.

The potato’s position as Scotland’s favourite main meal carbohydrate source is assured with 61 per cent of the sample’s support. Other carb sources, such as pasta on 19 per cent and rice on 12 per cent, trail far behind the field favourite.

The EU-funded promotional campaign is geared towards making potatoes more relevant to a younger audience and encouraging the public to try new and healthy ways of incorporating them into their cooking routines.