Potato starch is a food product that is extracted from potatoes. Within the potato are starch grains which are called leucoplasts. To get to the starch, the potatoes must be crushed. As the cells are destroyed, the leucoplasts are released from the potato. Then the leucoplasts are washed, then dried, to create the starch powder.
Potatoes were first grown in the Andean Mountains, domesticated in Bolivia and Peru up to 10,000 years ago, to provide a stable food source. Because it could be easily frozen, dehydrated, or consumed fresh, it became a staple to the Inca Empire. When the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, Europe was introduced to the potato.
Any potato has the capability of producing starch. Not all starches store well after they’ve been created, however, so the industry has worked on creating new varieties with waxy starch content. Waxy potato starches have a reduced risk of retrograde while they are being stored.
Some potato starches are also created as a secondary product from potato processing efforts. Manufacturing facilities which make potato chips or French fries will often take the leftover cuttings and turn them into potato starch as a way to maximize profits.
Important Potato Starch Industry Statistics
#1. In the United States, over 1 million acres of potatoes are harvested every year. Around the world, there are more than 19.25 million hectares of potatoes planted. This creates an annual harvest of nearly 377 million tons of potatoes. (Statista)
#2. The United States produces about 36,000 cwt of sweet potatoes each year as well. The production value of the sweet potato harvest in the U.S. is valued at $732 million annually. (Statista)
#3. Russet potatoes are the most common grown and sold in the United States. This type of potato currently holds a 43% share of the U.S. market. (Statista)
#4. Unmodified potato starch contains about 40 calories for every 1 tablespoon serving. It contains no other vitamins or minerals of nutritional value. (Bob’s Red Mill)
#5. When all consumption possibilities for potatoes are considered, the average person will consume about 33 pounds of potatoes and 7.6 pounds of sweet potatoes in the U.S. each year. (Statista)
#6. In Europe, starch potatoes are just 1.8% of the overall crop that is planted each year. (Eurostat Statistics)
#7. Poland, Germany, and France are responsible for 46% of the potato crop that is harvested in Europe each year. Poland has a 21% market share, with Germany second at 15%, followed by France at 10.5%. (Eurostat Statistics)
#8. The average size of a potato farm in Denmark is 20.6 hectares. In Romania, the average size of a potato farm is just 0.2 hectares. (Eurostat Statistics)
#9. In the Netherlands, 15% of arable lands are dedicated to growing potatoes. In Europe, the percentage of arable lands being used for potatoes is just 1.5%. (Eurostat Statistics)
#10. In 2017, India estimated that it was able to produce about 998,000 metric tons of starch across the country. (Statista)
#11. The total value of the potato starch industry is estimated to be about $5 billion globally. Through 2026, the industry is forecast to grow with a CAGR of 4.6%. (Transparency Market Research)
#12. Europe is the global leader in revenue generation for the potato starch industry. In 2017, the continent generated $1.71 billion in revenues. (Transparency Market Research)
#13. About 3.6 million tons of potato starch are produced globally each year. Volume levels are expected to grow with a CAGR of 2.76% through 2023 for the industry. (IMARC Group)
#14. 60% of the applications for potato starch are for food applications. More than 22 million tons of raw materials are used for the European starch market, which offers a total production capability of 10 million tons of starch. (European Starch Industry Association)
#15. In 2015, 272.5 million cwt of potatoes from the U.S. crop was sold to processing centers, compared to 110.9 million cwt sent for table stock. Out of that figure, just 6.7 million cwt was designated for processing that could include starch production. (National Potato Council)
#16. In the 2016/17 growing season, the United States exported about 12.1 million pounds of potato starch. In the same year, the U.S. imported about 98.2 million pounds of starch. Since 2012, the U.S. has been a net importer of potato starch products, despite being a global leader in potato production. (National Potato Council)
#17. In 2016, 48 million cwt of potatoes were sent to dehydration processing centers in the United States to create flour or starch. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
#18. China is the global leader when it comes to potato production, with 95.9 million tons of potatoes grown annually. India comes in second, producing 45.3 million tons. They are followed by the Russian Federation, who grows 30 million tons of potatoes each year. (FAOSTAT)
#19. Potatoes are consumed in the developed and developing world on a virtually equal basis. In 2007, developing countries consumed more potatoes for the first time than the developed world. (FAOSTAT)
#20. Europe consumes more potatoes per capita than any other geographic location, averaging 87.8 kilograms per person. Africa consumes the least amount of potatoes per capital, at just 13.9kg per person. (FAOSTAT)
#21. Belarus is the country which consumes the most potatoes per capita in the world, averaging 181kg per person. They are followed by Kyrgyzstan (143kg), Ukraine (136kg), and Poland (131kg). (FAOSTAT)
#22. Potatoes contribute about 15% of the total farm receipts for vegetables within the U.S. industry each year. They are grown all year in the U.S., though the Autumn harvest accounts for 90% of U.S.-based potato production each year. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
#23. In 1974, there were over 51,000 farms in the United States that were producing potatoes for commercial consumption. In 2007, there were just 15,000 farms producing potatoes. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
Potato Starch Industry Trends and Analysis
Potato starch is one of many starch products that are available to multiple industries. It can be used to thicken food, size textiles, or create adhesives. Because it is such a versatile product, there will always be high levels of demand for it.
Europe will continue to be the leader in potato starch sales because of the continent’s push toward sustainable products. China and the U.S. account for 60% of the revenues in the overall starch industry, compared to 14% for Europe. China and the United States use other starch resources, however, such as cornstarch, that are not as widely popular.
Look for slow, sustainable growth through 2026 for this industry. Volumes should rise at a comparative rate to the pricing. Because there can be poor growing seasons for potatoes that may affect starch availability, the price index for this product will continue to be unpredictable.
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