The potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is a nutritious and versatile tuberous plant that belongs to the Solanaceous plant family. It originates from the Andes in South America. In the 16th century, the Spaniards brought the potato to Europe and nowadays, the potato is the most important food crop worldwide after wheat and rice.

Potatoes are rich in nutrients and can grow in many different countries and regions around the world. In addition, thanks to a relatively low environmental impact and water footprint, the potato is expected to play an increasingly important role in food security of the growing global population. Potato production, especially in Asia and Africa, continues to grow. Potatoes are a staple food in virtually every national and international nutritional education model.

In summary:

In summary:

  • Seed potatoes are used to cultivate new potatoes and are planted in mid-April. They then grow into new potatoes (new seed potatoes, starch potatoes or ware potatoes), which are harvested in September.
  • Potatoes contain a variety of nutrients, such as carbohydrates in the form of starch, fibre (especially in the skin), B vitamins (especially B6), vitamin C and potassium. They also contain bio-active substances and to a lesser degree, zinc, iron, calcium and phosphorous.
  • Potatoes contain virtually no fat and around 2% protein. Potato protein contains a high level of essential amino acids. The good functional properties of potato protein also make it a good substitute, for example, for chicken egg protein.
  • Potato products are included in the Dutch Wheel of Five when prepared without salt or fat or with healthy cooking fat. Deep frying increases the number of calories in potatoes, which is why for example fries fall outside of the Wheel of Five.  
  • In the Netherlands, the consumption of potato products is on the decline, from an average of 92 grams per day in 2007-2010 to 64 grams per day in 2019-2021. Worldwide, however, the production and demand for potato products is on the rise, especially in Africa and Asia.

The environmental footprint of potatoes compared to other crops is low. Potato cultivation generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions and requires less land and water than, for example, rice or wheat. Controlling the fungal disease Phytophthora infestans, or potato blight, is one of the biggest challenges in potato cultivation.