Sweet potato has its origins in Central and South America, but nowadays it is popular all over the world. The richest source of vitamin A, sweet potato has been used in South America since 5,000 years ago not only as food but also as a remedy for various diseases.
The sweet taste of sweet potatoes, similar to baked pumpkin, can often be the strong point of lunches taken with family or friends. Consumed as such or in combination with other ingredients, they are not only delicious and nutritious but also have therapeutic properties given by the nutrients they contain – antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein.
Although we find one or two types in most grocery stores, there are over 6,500 related varieties worldwide, which differ in color, texture, taste, shape, and size.
How much do sweet potatoes cost?
You can find sweet potatoes at a range of prices, from $0.75 to $1.80 per pound on average.
Trader Joe’s sells three-pound bags of organic sweet potatoes for $3.99, although each bag is priced differently depending on the geographical location. According to their website, a three-pound bag in New York City costs more than it does for those living on the East Coast.
If you want to buy sweet potatoes from Walmart.com, the price for individual fresh sweet potatoes is approximately $1.34 for one pound.
Sweet potato organic vegetables sourced locally are listed for $2.35 for 1 pound on Foodcoop.com, a website that shares price lists every weekday and details the source of its produce as well as how it was grown according to sustainable practices.
A 40-pound bag of sweet potatoes can cost anywhere from $16 to $25. They’re a great way to save – if you buy items in bulk, it’s likely that you spend considerably less than when buying smaller quantities.
According to the MSUcares.com website, in 2020 Mississippi wholesale prices for sweet potatoes varied anywhere from $19-$26 for a 40-pound box of grade 1 classifications to a low price of around only $13-$15 for number two grades or even just near about $11 if you’re purchasing jumbo sized products.
Factors that affect the price per pound
The demand and supply at the local level, as well as on a national scale will have an impact on determining the cost.
The price for the product will vary depending on where you live, so be sure to check availability in your area.
The annual volume in a particular location also dictates the prevailing data rate.
Depending on the season and local weather, prices for sweet potatoes can rise or drop.
The period of harvest and the length of time over which buyers can obtain sweet potatoes from an area are both taken into consideration.
The cost of the production also depends on how much it costs to grow it and ship it to major markets.
When it comes to figuring out prices for sweet potatoes, the quality of the crop and the reputation of a grower plays an important role as well.
Historical prices of sweet potatoes
Historically, sweet potato prices view their lowest points during late fall harvest months like November and December. Peak prices occur in the spring before the next harvest comes in.
According to Statista, the cost per hundredweight (100 pounds) of sweet potatoes in the US increased from about $15 in 2010 to about $23 in 2022.
The price received for sweet potatoes in the US was around $23.20 per hundredweight in 2022, up from $21.40 per hundredweight in 2021.
The average fob price for US fresh sweet potatoes was $60.56 per hundredweight as of September 3, 2022, up 20.6% compared with the same time a year ago. The average advertised retail price for fresh sweet potatoes was 94 cents per pound, down 8.7% from the same week a year ago.
The approximate wholesale price range for US sweet potatoes in 2023 is between $0.32 and $0.63 per pound, while the retail price range is between $0.45 and $0.91 per lb. on average.
Sweet potatoes details
A medium-sized sweet potato (about 130 grams) contains 70 mg of salt, and 23 grams of carbohydrates, of which 7 grams of sugars, 2 grams of protein, and 4 grams of dietary fiber. Unlike white potatoes, they do not contain fat and cholesterol and have fewer calories, about 100 kcal.
In terms of vitamin and mineral content, sweet potatoes provide the body with 120% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin A, 30% of vitamin C, 13% of potassium, and 4% of calcium and iron each. Vitamins B6, E, and B5 are also found in smaller quantities.
A sweet potato’s weight can be variable depending on its size. A medium-sized one usually weighs a quarter of a pound, while the larger ones weigh around half a pound.
What are the extra costs?
Sweet potatoes are a simple way to add flavor and nutrients to your diet, but they get old and dry fast. If you prefer to make the dish more interesting, you will need some additional ingredients (e.g., garlic powder) as well as seasonings that can be used on top of or combined with other flavors (e.g., butter).
There are also a lot of optional tools that can transform cooking sweet potatoes into an easy job. For example, you can buy a potato peeler to remove the peels or get an electric mixer for mashing purposes. Some slicers even allow you to create fries out of your sweet potatoes.
Important things to consider
The color of sweet potatoes indicates the level of phytonutrients in their composition, compounds that support the health of the body. For example, the orange ones have the highest level of beta-carotene. On the other hand, sweet purple potatoes have a higher amount of anthocyanins, natural pigments that give color to berries, and have been shown to be beneficial for the body, due to their antioxidant properties.
Choose hard sweet potatoes without scratches or soft spots and avoid buying them if they are stored in a refrigerated space because a low temperature, as well as a high one, could alter them.
Store them in a cool (but not refrigerated) and dark place, possibly in a pantry, away from excessive heat.
During the colder winter months, Americans consume more sweet potatoes. This often leads to higher prices during this time of year because demand is high and supply is low. There are many recipes that people use for Thanksgiving as an example such as mashed sweet potato or candied yams with marshmallows on top.
As in the case of the classic potato, it can be cooked with the peel on it, but washed very well (boiled, steamed, baked), but also peeled, in various purees, soups, very tasty and nutritious dishes. It is also advisable to add a little natural fat when you eat them because it helps to better absorb beta-carotene.
Sweet potatoes are excellent for digestion because they are rich in fiber and, when eaten with the skin, fight constipation, preventing colon cancer over time. They are rich in folic acid, essential for the development of healthy cells and tissues of the fetus, their consumption is indicated for pregnant women or those who want to become pregnant.
In moderate amounts, eating sweet potatoes should not cause side effects. However, as sweet potatoes contain oxalates, it is recommended to be avoided by people with kidney stones or problems with the kidneys and gallbladder.
How can I save money?
Despite being cheaper, there is no difference in terms of the taste when it comes to lower grades of sweet potatoes. Therefore, consumers should purchase other types which are more economical but have the same flavor and texture as higher-priced ones.
Farmers’ markets are a great way to save money on groceries. The potatoes can be as much as $1 per pound or even cheaper and the product is generally fresher than at grocery stores because it has been harvested within days rather than weeks or months like in the case of traditional supermarkets.
If you’re on the lookout for a deal, supermarkets often have great deals, some of them at around $0.70 per pound. Keep your eyes peeled while shopping and see if the stores offer any sales that day because it will save you money.