Promoting spud consumption in China

In China, the government has launched an “eat more potatoes” campaign – and Washington state could benefit as a result. Crops like rice and wheat, the Chinese staples, are far more water-intensive than the low-maintenance potato. Even though China grows a quarter of the world’s potatoes, the Chinese frown on tubers. Spuds have traditionally been viewed as a poor man’s food, something to subsist on in times of famine, fed to hogs or thrown into simple stir-fries. The government wants to change that. Through marketing events and ad campaigns, it is promoting a new image for the lowly spud with slogans and catchy jingles like, “Potato, Potato, Potato” and “Our Potato, Little Round Potato” broadcast across the country. To combat the notion that potatoes are bland, fast food companies such as McDonalds are experimenting with a variety of seasoned french fries. More