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Frequently Asked Questions

Are potatoes a sustainable food?

Yes! Potatoes are sustainable for the environment, people and communities. Potato production has a lower carbon footprint and requires less land and water than many other fruits, vegetables, and cereals1.

Potatoes are also affordable, widely available, and prevalent in many diets around the world. Potatoes can help feed people across our growing planet in a healthy and sustainable way.


Potatoes are good for a healthy, sustainable earth.

  • A recent study found that potatoes have lower greenhouse gas emissions and water demand on a per calorie basis than other staple crops.2 In fact, potatoes produce more food energy per cubic meter of water used than any major crop.3
  • Potato farmers use sustainable growing techniques to ensure healthy crops generation after generation. The soil is cared for year-round and involves the addition of compost, rotation of crops, and growing cover crops. This approach reduces erosion and adds nutrients to the soil naturally. Great care is taken to conserve water and reduce evaporation with constant irrigation monitoring.

Potatoes can be part of a sustainable diet.

  • They’re a nutrient-dense vegetable great for those seeking the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet or for anyone just trying to eat more vegetables.
  • Current dietary guidance, including the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, recommends substituting plant-based proteins for some animal-based proteins to improve overall health and support the environment.4 Potatoes provide 3 grams of high-quality, plant-based protein, and other key nutrients like potassium, vitamin C, and fiber.
  • Potatoes create less waste. People can eat up to 85% of the potato plant versus around 50% for cereals.5

Potatoes help feed a growing world sustainably.

  • Potatoes play an important role in food security, particularly for developing countries.  Half of the world’s food energy needs are supplied by potatoes, rice, wheat, and corn.6
  • According to the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), potatoes produce more nutritious food more quickly, on less land, and in harsher climates than any major crop.7 This will be particularly important as the world population is expected to reach 9.7 billion in people by 2050!8





  1. Gustavsen, G.W. Sustainability and Potato Consumption. Potato Res. 64, 571–586 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11540-021-09493-1
  2. Liu, B., Gu, W., Yang, Y. et al.Promoting potato as staple food can reduce the carbon–land–water impacts of crops in China. Nat Food 2, 570–577 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-021-00337-2
  3. “Potato and water resources.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. https://www.fao.org/potato-2008/en/potato/water.html. Accessed 13 Jan. 2022.
  4. S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov
  5. “International Year of the Potato.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. https://www.fao.org/potato-2008/en/aboutiyp/index.html. Accessed 13 Jan. 2022.
  6. Wijesinha-Bettoni, R., Mouillé, B. The Contribution of Potatoes to Global Food Security, Nutrition and Healthy Diets.  J. Potato Res.96, 139–149 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12230-018-09697-1
  7. International Year of the Potato.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. https://www.fao.org/potato-2008/en/aboutiyp/index.html. Accessed 13 Jan. 2022.
  8. “The Future of Food and Agriculture.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. https://www.fao.org/3/i6887e/i6887e.pdf. Accessed 13 Jan. 2022.


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