New site in Lincolnshire responds to rising demand for popular British comfort food

Demand for prepared mashed potato has shot up at Tesco

Demand for fresh, ready-made mashed potato has shot up at Tesco

Rising demand for mashed potato has prompted Branston to open what it claims is Britain’s biggest mash factory.

The site in Lincolnshire is expected to produce 23 million packs of mashed potatoes in its first year of operation, for supply to Tesco.

Branston said it has worked with the retailer’s development chefs to improve existing mash recipes and turn them into gourmet dishes.

One example is Root Veg Mash, which includes parsnip, butter and seasoning to give a sweeter flavour. Another is Bubble and Squeak, which contains more butter and milk for a smoother and richer taste.

Last year, Tesco shoppers alone bought more than one million more packs of fresh, ready-made mash than in 2022, with the British classic proving a hit during the cost-of-living crisis.

Regular mashed potato is by far the most popular variety, but sweet potato mash is enjoying the fastest growth. Sales of the latter rose by more than 100 per cent in 2023 versus 2022.

Tesco’s prepared produce buying manager Alex Edwards said: “Britain’s millions of mash fans should be very excited by the news as our chefs have worked with Branston to excite existing recipes.

“What we’re planning to do is to take the mash-eating experience to the next level and make it more of a gourmet food that you’d find in an upmarket restaurant.”

Tesco reported that demand for prepared mash started rising shortly before Covid. But lockdown encouraged a revival of Brits cooking from scratch as they had more time on their hands, which pushed up sales to wholehead potatoes instead.

Branston reported that as lockdown ended and people started returning to work, demand for the fresh, ready-made mash started rising again. This trend continued during the cost-of-living crisis, with mash considered an “inexpensive but heart-warming” option for consumers with less time on their hands.

Branston CEO Jim Windle said: “We are proud and very excited to have brought the latest world-class food manufacturing technology alongside restaurant-quality recipe design to uplift and elevate one of Britain’s best-loved foods.”