Today’s consumers are in search of plant-based meals that also are convenient, easy to prepare and don’t break the bank. These converging trends challenge manufacturers to develop ready-made and frozen items that are healthy and satiating—while they also appeal to consumers’ taste buds.  

With Meatless Mondays catching fire and a general trend toward consuming less animal protein, manufacturers are relying on versatile, satisfying and familiar foods to take the place of meat as the hero ingredient. Enter potatoes, which deliver on customer satisfaction and lend themselves to a myriad of preparations.

Take a Side Dish to the Center

Adding potatoes to a salad or soup can transform a side dish into a center-of-the-plate star. While consumers are trying to cut back on rice and pasta consumption, they are not making an attempt to eat fewer potatoes.1 A warm potato salad or potato and veggie hash are crowd pleasers that appeal to the entire family.

Rethink Fillings and Doughs

Potatoes add a satiety and texture that can seamlessly sub in for meat fillings in everything from tacos and tamales to dumplings and pot stickers. They also offer a nutritious alternative to wheat-based breads, crusts and pastas. With plant-based noodles trending, it’s only a matter of time before we see potato noodles made from matchstick cut potatoes, like the ones featured in this potato lo mein (pictured). We are even seeing savory potato waffles (pictured) and potato-based veggie patties available in the frozen section to offer a more nutritious option.

Absorb Global Flavor Profiles

Potatoes are a staple in cuisines across the world. They are a globally-inspired ingredient that are central to some of hottest ethnic cuisines, including Japanese/Korean, Indian, German, Mexican and beyond.  An ideal flavor carrier, potatoes beautifully absorb flavorful sauces and curries. 

Finding the Way Forward

Innovation in foodservice is paving the way for retail product manufacturers to leverage the versatility of potatoes.  Think soy-glazed yellow potatoes mixing sweet, spicy and savory flavors to create an umami-rich bite or potato scallops ready to be sauced and served just as elegantly as the real thing.

Want to learn more about the versatility and functionality of potatoes? Visit at for more culinary inspiration and product information.

1.Potatoes USA. “2017 Consumer A&U Quantitative Report.” March 2017.

Jill Rittenberg is global marketing manager, Ingredients Program, Potatoes USA. Readers may contact Rittenberg at