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Source: American Sweet Potato Institute news release

Europe's appetite for U.S. sweet potatoes is continuing to grow. The market imported record volumes again this past year and new research shows a sharp increase in awareness and purchases of U.S. sweet potatoes as a result of promotional efforts spearheaded by the American Sweet Potato Institute (ASPMI).

Thanks to an extensive media campaign on the superior taste and nutrition of American sweet potatoes sided with product demonstrations and retailer support, European consumers are showing overwhelming interest in this delicious "superfood".

Surveys of European consumers show awareness of U.S. sweet potatoes increased from 14% in 2014 to 42% in 2016 and those that specifically purchase U.S. sweet potatoes grew from 10% to 52% in the same period. The survey of over 1,000 respondents measured changes in awareness and purchasing patterns from a benchmark established two years ago. Meanwhile, U.S. sweet potato exports to Europe jumped 35% in 2016 to reach an all-time record $124 million.

Global exports also reached a record of over $170 million in 2016. ASPMI was formed in 2013 to promote the unique attributes of U.S. sweet potatoes abroad. Most sweet potato operations are small to medium family-owned farms. ASPMI's promotional efforts helps the industry access new export markets that they otherwise would not be able to reach.

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