IF you have ever been confused by the bewildering array of different potatoes you can buy, a new classification system has been put in place to make it easier.
Launched last week as part of Potato Week, potatoes have been grouped into three different classes – fluffy, smooth and salad – to help consumers get perfect results every time.
Four Gotes farmer Mike Newling is an ambassador for the Potato Council and on a mission to show people how to get the best out of the humble potato.
He visited the Citizen to explain in person about the new classification system, which was created after research done by consumer groups showed many people aren’t aware of the difference between the many varieties of potatoes.
Mike said: “People should really know where their food comes from and how to get the best out of their food. I hope this new system will help to simplify things.”
In the UK, over 450 different varieties of potatoes are grown but the majority of people can only name the most popular, such as Maris Piper or Desiree.
Over 50 per cent of those surveyed by www.manyfacesofpotatoes.co.uk gave ‘new’ and ‘baking’ as varieties. Almost a third of adults from East Anglia said they wouldn’t be able to identify a King Edward potato in a supermarket and almost one in 20 think ‘honeydew’ is a variety of potato.
Cooking seems to be a problem as well, with one in ten East Anglians admitting to struggling to cook potatoes. Either their roasts aren’t fluffy enough, their mash isn’t smooth enough or their boiled potatoes don’t hold their shape.
It is hoped that the new classifications will make it easy to pick the right potato for the job, making soggy roasts and lumpy mash a thing of the past.
Mike (25) is also hoping that his involvement will encourage young people to consider farming as a career choice, particularly as the Fens are such a hub for agriculture. Farming can have a negative reputation but Mike said there is more to it than meets the eye.