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Novel snack promotes China potato growing drive

(Xinhua)    19:48, June 23, 2015

BEIJING, June 23 -- A company has introduced a novel potato version of a classic Chinese snack to Beijing supermarkets, as the government tries to stave off a potential food crisis by persuading people of the merits of potatoes as an alternative to rice and wheat.

Steamed buns with 30 percent potato content can be found in around 100 supermarkets in the capital, reported Beijing News on Monday. They cost twice as much as traditional steamed buns.

Producer Haileda Food Co., Ltd. is currently making one ton of the potato buns each day. If they are well received, Haileda will increase output and expand distribution, the manufacturer said.

It also plans to raise the proportion of potato in the buns.

The potato buns are yellower and harder than traditional versions. But they are more nutritious, containing extra vitamins and dietary fiber and less fat, said Chen Mengshan, Communist Party of China chief with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS).

CAAS researchers started developing potato products in 2013. After settling on a recipe for steamed potato buns, they are also trying to make potato noodles, bread and cakes.

China is boosting potato acreage to make the crop the country's fourth staple food after rice, wheat and corn.

It will consume 50 billion kg more food in 2020 than it did in 2010, the Ministry of Agriculture forecast in January. With China short of farmland, the ministry stressed that it is difficult to improve the yield efficiency of wheat and rice but easier with potatoes.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Yao Xinyu,Gao Yinan)

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