Frieda's Specialty Produce Highlights Ube

Tue. April 18th, 2017 - by Laura Hillen

LOS ALAMITOS, CA – Consumers are abuzz with the possibilities of purple this spring, as lilac-hued desserts and dishes wash over social media. As produce departments look to attract shoppers with the sweet taste and alluring appearance of ube (or, purple yams), Frieda’s Specialty Produce is looking to educate about the difference between this delectable tuber and its similar cousins.

Karen Caplan, President and CEO, Frieda's Specialty Produce“Because fresh ube is rarely available in the U.S., most people don’t know what it looks like,” said Karen Caplan, President and CEO. “They often mistake Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes and Okinawan sweet potatoes for ube because of the purple flesh. Even the internet is confused about that!”

Retailers can better increase their sales by knowing the key difference between ube and other purple potato varieties. Fresh ube can be difficult to find in the U.S., which can perpetuate misinformation about what the root vegetable actually looks like. In order to demystify the selection, Frieda’s experts are releasing information about the difference between ube and other popular potato varieties to keep retailers ahead of the game on this trend.


Pronounced OO-beh, Frieda’s stated in a press release that fresh ube boasts a brown, bark-like skin with flesh that ranges from white with purple specks, to lilac. This tuber is a staple in Filipino kitchens, though its flavor is beloved all over Asia. Stunning desserts can be made with ube from grated frozen roots, powder, flavor extract, or jam (known as ube halaya). These variants can all be found in Filipino or Asian markets.

“Shoppers may think they are looking for fresh ube, but oftentimes we find they really want a purple sweet potato. We want our customers to be knowledgeable about all of the trending purple tubers, so they can better inspire new food experiences for their shoppers,” added Caplan.  

Purple sweet potatoes are more readily available to most consumers than the sometimes elusive ube. For reference, Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes have purple-tinted skin and violet-purple flesh. Okinawan sweet potatoes, have beige skin and lavender-purple flesh.

For further clarification, Frieda’s has also released a 1 minute video, as seen above, and written companion piece titled “The Ultimate Purple Sweet Potato Guide.” Each is part of the company’s ever-growing specialty produce information library. Make Frieda’s your go-to resource by accessing the company’s “Quick Bite” recipe videos, its classic “Produce 101” series, extensive recipe collection, and product information database.

Frieda's Specialty Produce