The soaring price of eggs has left many consumers scrambling over the past year. And it may become a bigger source of frustration for those planning on celebrating Easter with all sorts of egg-related rituals connected to the holiday, such as egg dyeing and Easter egg hunts.
But one food-industry group is touting an alternative idea: Swapping in potatoes for those eggs.
“2023 is the year of the Easter potato,” said Potatoes USA, a marketing group that represents about 2,000 spud growers, in a press release. While the price of eggs was up 55.4% in February compared to the year before, for instance, potato prices increased 13.5% year over year, according to the latest Consumer Price Index.
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What’s more, Americans are expected to spend a collective $24 billion on Easter this year, according to the National Retail Federation, which is an all-time high. And people participating in the holiday are expected to spend $192.01 apiece, on average.
So yes, Potatoes USA is calling for consumers to jump aboard what they say is a real bandwagon, noting that potatoes can be dyed just like eggs or painted in all kinds of fun ways. A key tip when it comes to the latter approach: A “white primer coat will make the colors pop!” Potatoes USA suggests.
Marisa Stein, marketing director for Potatoes USA, says the idea for the spud decorating came from consumers themselves.
“We spotted it and we kinda jumped on it,” she told MarketWatch.
Stein adds that Potatoes USA isn’t suggesting that taters replace eggs altogether come Easter, however. She envisions a world in which both foodstuffs can have their place as part of holiday decorating. “It’s a fun way to add another dimension to the Easter festivities,” she said.
Stein also notes that if potatoes are decorated with food-safe dyes, they can be used later on in holiday dishes (scalloped potatoes, anyone?). Conversely, if any tater decorators want to enshrine their creations, Potatoes USA noted that “a coat of hairspray can seal the color and keep the dye from bleeding.”
But is it a crime to use potatoes for your Easter décor given the holiday’s eggy traditions, to say nothing of the religious significance of the egg as a symbol of rebirth?
Paul Zahn, a Los Angeles-based entertaining expert, said he likes the idea of decorating both eggs and potatoes for Easter. He also noted that potatoes offer a broader canvas, of sorts — they’re generally physically larger, and they can be decorated Mr. Potato Head-style, using toothpicks to hold various visual elements in place (he suggests turning olives into eyes).
“It’s a sturdier medium,” Zahn said of the potato.
You’ll find some folks on social media who are supporting the potato-decorating trend, too. It’s a vegan Easter egg alternative, for one thing.
All that said, the price of eggs is finally coming down, according to a recent report. And as others have noted, depending on where you shop, a single potato isn’t necessarily a cheaper bet than a single egg. At the Krazy Coupon Lady website, one contributor named Nora did the math and found that she was actually spending more on the potatoes.
But in the end, Nora didn’t object, saying decorating potatoes is “still a fairly inexpensive (and fun!) family craft for Easter.”