The sweet potato continues to gain in popularity among French producers for its agronomic qualities (especially the Beauregard variety, with “its excellent resistance to diseases, high yields and adaptability to different soils and climates”), as well as among consumers, thanks to its gustatory and nutritional qualities.
Michael Sanchez Escriva, sales manager at Arco Fruits, talks about the current season and the prospects for growth on the French market for sweet potatoes. “Last month, we launched the marketing of the 2023/2024 sweet potato harvest, more specifically the Beauregard variety. Known for its pink to purple skin and bright orange flesh, it is one of the most popular varieties, highly appreciated for its soft texture and sweet taste.”
“Spain offers ideal growing conditions”
Arco Fruits has chosen to focus on key production basins in Spain: Cadiz, Malaga, Murcia and Alicante. “By capitalizing on these unique regions, Arco Fruits is able to supply superior quality sweet potatoes virtually all year round. Spain, with its climate diversity and varied soils, offers ideal conditions for the cultivation of sweet potatoes. The province of Cadiz, for example, boasts a unique microclimate that gives sweet potatoes their exceptional flavor and texture. Its rich soil with marine deposits favors optimal growth.”
In 2020, almost 45% of the sweet potatoes consumed in France were imported (source: FranceAgriMer). French production is estimated at 10,000 tons.
Production down by 30% and price increase
The drought, successive heat waves reaching record temperatures and lack of water have had a major impact on production this year. Sweet potato yields are down by 30% compared to previous years, with a predominance of small calibers. However, according to Michael Sanchez Escriva, “these regions, also affected by the same weather difficulties, generally have slightly staggered harvesting calendars, which helps to regulate supply on the market.” The season started with rather high prices due to production difficulties, but the “market dynamics should stabilize with the introduction of new harvests from other regions. A drop in prices of approximately 10 to 15% should occur in the coming weeks.”
Growing interest from French consumers
In recent years, the sweet potato has gained in popularity among European consumers, especially the French. The appeal of the sweet potato remains strong and may even continue to grow in the coming years. The popularity of this product is due to its nutritional qualities. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin A, fiber and antioxidants. Today, consumers are increasingly looking to diversify their diet, especially millennials who are moving towards a more plant-based diet, in which sweet potatoes have managed to carve out a place of choice. “Marketing efforts by both producers and distributors have also played an important role in raising consumer awareness of this product. Culinary recipes have proliferated on TV and social networks, greatly contributing to its popularity. With their sweet flavor and texture that melts in the mouth, sweet potatoes are an interesting alternative to traditional potatoes.”
According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the global demand for sweet potatoes has also increased in recent years, mainly in Europe and North America.
For more information:
Michael Sanchez Escriva
Phone: +33 7 82 44 16 74