According to the latest data (2021) global production of potatoes was 376 million metric tons annually. China produces 25% of the world’s supply of potatoes while India produces about 14%, the US around 5% and Russia around about 5%. Under normal conditions, Ukraine is also a meaningful producer of potatoes at around 6%. Domestically, the most significant contributor to potato production in the US is Idaho.
There are more than 200 varieties of potato offered in the US retail market—russet is the most popular despite high levels of starch and numerous eyes. The majority of potatoes in the US are utilized for processing (270 million) in goods such as French fries, chips, or instant-potato products, versus fresh use (94 million). Per capita use of potatoes has in fact declined over the years, from 47 pounds per person in 2000 to 30 pounds, perhaps as Americans have become more health conscious.
Domestic consumption of sweet potatoes, conversely, has increased from 4.2 to 6.2 pounds over the comparable time period. Globally, sweet potatoes are the sixth most important crop globally but of higher importance in developing countries, where 95% of the production occurs.
By the way, the first recorded use of the potato dates back to Peru between 8000 and 5000 BCE. It is believed that the potato arrived in Europe through two ports of entry—Spain in the late 16th century and Britain shortly thereafter. By the 18th century, the potato had replaced the turnip and rutabaga as a common foodstuff.