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Social Media Sensation 'Spudman' Turns Jacket Potatoes into Global Phenomenon

Ben Newman catapults his humble jacket potato business to global fame, selling nearly 1,500 potatoes in a single day.
PUBLISHED APR 16, 2024
Cover Image Source: Social Media Sensation 'Spudman' | TikTok | @spudarmy
Cover Image Source: Social Media Sensation 'Spudman' | TikTok | @spudarmy

In Staffordshire, England, the humble jacket potato has become an unexpected sensation, thanks to the viral fame of Ben Newman, better known as @spudmanofficial on TikTok. Operating a takeaway van in Tamworth, Newman has seen his sales skyrocket as customers flock from around the globe to taste his renowned jacket potatoes.

The 39-year-old father of nine, residing in Burton-upon-Trent, initially joined TikTok to monitor his children's activity but has since amassed 2.6 million followers and 41.6 million likes with his Go-Pro videos showcasing his life as a jacket potato vendor.

Newman's journey to becoming "Spudman" began over two decades ago when he established his own business, Newman's Catering, at just 18 years old. Drawing inspiration from his late father, a fellow jacket potato merchant, the influencer has found unexpected success in the digital age.

His viral videos have attracted customers from across the world, with some traveling from as far as Australia, South Africa, and Malaysia to sample his culinary creations. His fame has allowed him to sell almost 1,500 potatoes in a single day.

TikTok | @spudmanofficial
Image Source: Instagram | @spudmanofficial

Since joining TikTok to promote his business in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, Newman has utilized his prominent presence on the platform to not only boost his own business but also to promote the town of Tamworth and other local establishments.

His engaging content, featuring live streams of his work and updates on his daily activities, has garnered thousands of views. Furthermore, his popularity on TikTok reached new heights when he featured a couple from Malaysia in one of his videos. The couple, who flew to the UK specifically to try Newman's jacket potatoes, epitomized the global appeal of his business.

In response to his success, Newman has partnered with a wholesaler and plans to give out free potatoes at his pitch in Tamworth town center on Saturday. He expressed his gratitude for the overwhelming support and sees this gesture as an opportunity to "give something back" to his loyal customers.

The jacket potato van has become a symbol of community and entrepreneurship, reminiscent of Coventry's Binley Mega Chippy. Newman's offerings, priced between $4 and $5 each, cater to a diverse clientele, with the classic cheese and beans topping reigning as the bestseller.

Despite his newfound fame, Newman remains grounded, sporting a trademark pink mohawk to raise awareness for kidney research, a cause close to his heart after undergoing three failed kidney transplants.

The impact of TikTok on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) like Newman's is not limited to increased sales but extends to broader economic benefits. According to a 2023 report by Oxford Economics, SME investments in TikTok advertising and marketing contributed $1.2 billion to the UK's revenue in 2022.

The food and beverage industry, in particular, benefited significantly, accounting for $0.6 billion of the total revenue. TikTok's content algorithm, which facilitates user discovery of lesser-known brands, has proven advantageous for businesses, driving economic value and fostering real-world community interactions.

For more such content, you can follow Ben Newman (@spudmanofficial) on TikTok.

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