Spuds rule OK. That's the message (unsurprisingly) from the Potato Council following the release of research from Cranfield University showing that potatoes are THE sustainable carbohydrate.
The Cranfield research compared the total greenhouse gas emissions and water usage for potatoes against rival carbohydrates, rice and pasta.
Environmental concerns about food production is a major issue for both the farming and manufacturing industries which was why the Potato Council commissioned the comparative study.
On August 21 at Stoneleigh Park, there will be the chance to examine the detailed work behind the research, and how the findings may be used throughout the industry to promote potatoes as a sustainable food choice.
Caroline Evans, the Potato Council's head of marketing, told me: "The study builds on our previous research work to show that British potatoes are healthy. The industry has made significant advances in sustainable production methods and it is important that we focus on generating maximum and consistent exposure for these messages among the Government and agencies, as well as consumers."
She said the research was ideally positioned to help inform key audiences to ensure potatoes got top billing when it came to recommending the types of food we should be eating.
There were four "top-line" research findings, she said.
Firstly, focussing on the greenhouse gas emissions and water usage of the three carbohydrates, the study found that potatoes and pasta had systematically lower greenhouse gas and water impact than basmati rice.
Secondly, the higher levels of greenhouse gas associated with basmati rice could be accounted to emissions generated during primary production and transportation from India, while the differentiation in water usage could be attributed to the far more significant irrigation requirements of rice.
Thirdly, though the distinctions between potatoes and pasta were far less pronounced, when expressed in terms of a typical portion size, potatoes had lower greenhouse gas and potential water scarcity impact.
So, (and finally) on a global scale, a portion of potatoes potentially had a lower environmental impact than basmati rice or pasta alternatives.