Sweet potatoes – healthy food, healthy market

By 1st October 2013Growers, Customers

Where demand for traditional potatoes is generally consistent from one season to the next, the Rush Group are finding that demand for sweet potatoes is increasing year on year. This exotic root has long been popular in America, and is now becoming a staple for European dinner tables.

One of the reasons for the increased sales of sweet potatoes is due to it being classed a ‘super food’. This root is rich in beta-carotene, which in turn produces Vitamin A – vital for the immune system, as well as being low on the glycaemic index, so does not raise blood sugar levels.

Rush imports approximately 90% of its sweet potatoes from North Carolina. This part of America provides perfect growing conditions for the sweet potato, with its loamy soil and suitable climate. It seems that the UK and Ireland have a growing desire for the Covington variety, as Rush have shipped 3,500 tonnes already this year, and they predict sales are only going to grow exponentially.

Like all the fresh produce handled by Rush, sweet potatoes make their own particular demands, and it takes an expert to truly understand them. For example, phytosanitary regulations on imports into the UK mean that no soil can be imported from America. As a result all sweet potatoes imported from the States must be washed prior to shipping. This process reduces the shelf life of the sweet potatoes. It is these market complexities that demand the expertise provided by Rush. And it is this sort of specialist knowledge that is invaluable to their growing partners in America.

Due to Rush having a dedicated (specialised) team managing the sweet potato market, they have the ability to consume the full offering from their growers. The following is a rough breakdown of what and to whom they sell:

Size of sweet potato                                          Customer type

80g-200g                                                             Retail (750g pillow packs)

150g –300g                                                         Retail (1kg pillow packs)

300g-450g                                                           Wholesale and Retail (6kg boxes)

450g-600g                                                           Wholesale and Retail (6kg boxes)

600g-800g                                                           Food service/Catering/Restaurants

>800g                                                                   Processing for chips, purée and mash


If you are looking for an expert supplier of Sweet Potatoes, whatever the size please contact Rush

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