Potatoes accounts for the majority of total volume sales of starchy roots in Japan and the category recorded growth for the second year running in 2018 after a long period of decline. Japan relies mostly on domestic production for its fresh potatoes due to tight restrictions on the importing of potatoes which are in place to prevent the entry of pests and diseases.
Sweet potatoes is the second largest category within starchy roots in Japan with consumers being attracted to the sweet taste of locally-produced products as well as the range of associated health benefits. Japanese sweet potatoes are sweeter than varieties from other parts of the world and are commonly used in the making of a range of desserts such as sweet potato pie and daigaku imo (fried and candied sweet potatoes), and healthy desserts, such as hoshi imo (dried sweet potatoes) and yaki imo (baked sweet potatoes).
Sales of other roots continued to decline in 2018 with this being driven in part by the time consuming process of preparing these products. Satoimo (taro) and nagaimo (yam) are two of the most popular other roots in Japan appearing in traditional dishes such as stews and soups, but sales have been declining due to several reasons.
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