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Why Are Potatoes Sold in Plastic Bags Instead of Mesh?

Q:

Why are potatoes generally sold in plastic bags rather than mesh ones (like onions)? It is my thought that they would store better.

A:

Originally potatoes were shipped in burlap, then buyers wanted most of the retail consumer bags to be mesh (the burlap sheds fibers) and this evolved to a mesh looking plastic, and now a lot of stores request that potatoes be shipped in plastic bags with small breathable holes. Each have fans. The burlap breathes, the potatoes don’t turn green by being exposed to light, but the downside is that the customer cannot see the appearance of the potatoes. It really depends on what the produce buyer wants, our Idaho potato shippers have the capability to do any version of these. In foodservice, the preferred containers are now paper bags (for No. 2 potatoes used in the making of fresh fries), or cartons.

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