What’s happened to potatoes?

Over the last few years supermarket potatoes have changed. If you boil them they stay quite hard but the outer layer breaks away with the skin and cooked for a minute too long, they disintegrate altogether! It’s impossible to use them for potato salad or any dish that requires an intact boiled potato. Also, they’re very white and sold in black lined plastic bags which conceals the fact that they go green really quickly, sometimes in the store! What happened to ‘old’ potatoes and ‘new’ potatoes?


Hi @Lorksvar, welcome to the community.

There are a number of different varieties of potatoes grown in Australia (scores more if you live in Tassie). Some of these are suitable for baking, mashing, boiling and frying or what is called a general purpose potato. Others might be better suited to one cooking method, but perform not as well when other cooking methods are used.

The characteristics of the determines what it us best used for.

It is likely that your potato seller has changed varieties and may not be suited to the cooking methods you use. This could be due to current temporary potato shortage resulting from weather in the spring and early summer last year, due to their supplier changing variety for some reason or a new supplier with a different variety being supplied.

It might be worth providing feedback to your potato seller as you are unlikely to be alone in finding the potatoes not suitable for a range of cooking methods commonly used at home.


to identify the potato variety they sell, not just ‘dirty potatoes’, ‘boiling potatoes’, ‘white potatoes’, ‘red potatoes’, etc that seems all too common.

We buy kestrals and Mayan Gold (when available) and often see dutch cremes but few others get identified. Coles, Woolies, and F&V shops are all culpable, possibly locale dependent. Nobody seems willing to listen or care since it ‘has always been so’ according to ‘them’. Last time we saw a Burbank russet on the price tag there was nothing but dutch cremes in the bin. And so it goes :frowning:


Most of the potatoes in supermarkets these days are of the starchy or floury characteristics that are good for nothing more than mashed potato or perhaps baking.

I try to seek out waxy potatoes like kipfer or nicola, or as an inbetween dutch cream if doing potato salad, or casseroles, or just plain boiled, because they don’t fall apart.

Taste much better too than sebago (brushed), coliban (washed), and desiree (pink), which are your normal supermarket varieties.


Woolies may add comments such as ‘great for mashing’ or ‘all rounder’ to the labels. If one wants potatoes for chipping they are in our experience best found pre-cut in the frozen food section. A premium product?

As consumers are we responding to the retailers choices or are the retailers responding to consumer needs and preferences?


Our shop only sells Washed or Brushed potatoes with no indication of variety. The frozen chips/mash (3 brands) are all Made in Belgium, product sourced from other EU countries.

While chips are often sold out, the fish & chippie and pub meals don’t seem to have a problem. Our shop had fresh spud all through the “shortage”.


They will have a wholesale distributor who delivers all their needs to order weekly or more often. Perhaps the standing contracts they have ensure priority of supply over the retail supermarkets? Lack of supply is likely to hurt one more than the other.

PFD Food Services.
Frozen chips from 8+ suppliers, approx 70 choices of product and pack sizing. 5kg x 3pack if you have the freezer space.


To maintain a regular supply, chips have been imported or some businesses have resorted to making their own chips (if they could get potatoes suitable for chips). In our area, some also started making wedges and at worst, provided packet crinkle cut chips (like Smiths etc) on the plate. Some also managed to source potatoes suitable for making chips, but were told the price of these were quite expensive.

It appears that the current Australian hot chip might be passing as chip potato harvesting has recommenced in Tasmania (and chip factories operating at full production). The ABC had a news article recently: