New data released by Hort Innovation shows Australians are producing and consuming more potatoes than ever.

Developed by Freshlogic, the annual Horticulture Statistics Handbook and offers the most comprehensive and up-to-date data available on more than 75 horticultural products including fruit, nuts, vegetables, nursery, turf, and cut flowers.

This year, potatoes were top performers in volume growth.

Hort Innovation Head of Data and Insights Adam Briggs said the rise correlates with Aussies also buying more spuds when they visit retailers, and their use in food service has climbed year-on-year.

“The humble spud has become a bit of a vegetable superstar,” he said.

“From the year ending June 2020 to the year ending June 2021, we’ve seen the value of potatoes climb by $90.9M, and the tonnes produced rise by 5 per cent.”

Mr Briggs said the data showed 87 per cent of Australian households purchased potatoes, buying an average of 1.7kg per shopping trip.

The Horticulture Statistics Handbook is released each February and captures the previous financial year’s data. The user-friendly guide includes figures on retail and food service use, exports and imports, share of production by State and Territory, wholesale value, and volume.

More data and insights from the 2020/2021 Handbook include:

  • The value of fruit was stronger than the previous year after a rise in olive production ($99 million), avocados ($56 million), cherries ($47 million) and apples ($41 million).
  • Table grapes were the most valuable fruit ($631.8 million). Apples took number two spot in value ($619.9 million) and overtook bananas ($596.8 million).
  • More berries are available to Australians than ever before. Over an eight-year period, the volume of raspberries and blackberries has increased more than four-fold, while blueberry volumes have almost tripled.
  • Oranges have seen an eighth year of consecutive growth in production value to reach a new high of $437.6 million, despite a -7 per cent fall in production volume. Oranges have experienced an average 9.80 per cent compound annual growth rate in value since 2012/13.
  • Despite export disruptions, Victoria remains the largest driver with 46 per cent of total export value. Queensland was second with 16 per cent of export value – up from 12 per cent the previous year when it was the fourth highest behind, Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.
  • The macadamia industry recorded a significant increase in the production value (12.8 per cent) and volume (38.4 per cent) compared to 2019/20.
  • Both the turf and nursery sector continue to record a strong growth trajectory. The value of the turf industry exceeded $300 million for the first time, after a 9.9 per cent increase in value from 2019/20, while the value of the production nursery industry increased by $226 million, an 8.8 per cent increase from 2019/20.

Mr Briggs said the data reflected the obvious challenges growers faced given global circumstances in the period captured, 2020-2021, but there were also many positives including a foodservice recovery.

“Something encouraging is that foodservice is returning from the lows we saw in 2019/20,” he said.

“For example, fruit food service volume and value has rebounded, and the value is now exceeding pre-Covid levels,” he said.