Not so humble anymore: First ever campaign to promote the potato on a global scale gets underway

Image result for "imagine a world without potatoes"Staunch supporters of the humble potato have decided that its high time that consumers across the world have a pause and realize that this tuber, taken so much for granted, may very well hold the key to food security for generations to come. Initiating a first ever global promotions campaign of this nature, the the International Potato Center (CIP) – headquartered in Peru – recently announced the “Imagine a World without Potatoes” campaign, inviting millions of potato consumers around the world to imagine life without the potatoes that they are so used to having around in all its varieties and presentations. The campaign seeks to bring together diverse partners from the global potato sector, be it private companies, trade associations and public research institutes, among others. “It’s a call to action; we’re giving consumers the freedom to use their imagination and draw their own conclusions. Potatoes are an integral part of our lives, they evoke feelings of tradition, home cooked meals, warmth and comfort. The problem is not that potato fails to inspire, but that we take it for granted,” said Marc de Beaufort, Marketing Specialist at CIP. Visit the dedicated website where more information on the campaign can be found: aworldwithoutpotatoes.com

Cool move: Albert Bartlett ventures into chilled potato market; set to open new production plant

Related imageAlbert Bartlett, based in Scotland, is venturing further into the prepared potato market with the development of several chilled potato products. Having already entered the frozen potato market in 2015, the potato supplier is now set to open a new chilled plant at the company headquarters in Airdrie in September. Creating 50 new jobs, the factory will have capability to process 50,000t of potatoes for sale at retail and foodservice. This equates to roughly a third of the current total prepared market. Albert Bartlett confirmed it had already won a three-year contract with one of the big four supermarkets for its new range, but preferred not to specify which. As well as buttery mash, the plant is likely to produce other dishes such as cheesy mash, root veg mash and Colcannon. Potatoes for the new products will be supplied by Albert Bartlett’s group of 85 growers, with producers in Scotland accounting for around 90 per cent of the potatoes used. The move represents a major development for the potato producer, which processes a fifth of the fresh potatoes sold in the UK. Read more

Upcoming AHDB Potatoes event to showcase newest post harvest and storage technologies

Image result for ahdb potatoes storageAHDB Potatoes and Agri-Tech East are are jointly hosting an event this coming Wednesday 20 June to showcase some of the newest technologies and innovations in post-harvest management and storage. The meeting will be hosted at the Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research, Lincs. From rapid refrigeration to seed cleaning, and from electronic noses to automated environmental control systems, good post-harvest management systems are vital to prevent deterioration and retain the value of the harvested crop. This event will explore new innovations being used to help maintain the quality and integrity of the crop post-harvest, for short and long-term storage. There is also the option for a tour of the facilities to see first-hand the research programmes underway at Sutton Bridge, and the chance to meet Laura Bouvet, our latest new recruit who is working jointly with Agri-Tech East and the AHDB. Presentations by Adrian Cunnington, Head of Crop Storage Research, AHDB; Ronnie Laing, Managing Director, Omnivent; Kees Wijngaarden, Area Sales Manager, Tolsma Storage and others. To register please contact becky.dodds@agritech-east.co.ukFurther information on this page

Potato virus Y: Reasons why potato growers should pay attention to this serious disease

Related imagePotato virus Y (PVY) is one of the most common problems in potato fields, but can be hard to detect and some people do not recognize it when they see it. With plenty of other things to worry about, some growers may not consider PVY a serious threat and have not learned to recognize the symptoms. But this attitude is changing as more potato crops are impacted by the virus. PVY has been around a long time but only recently has become a serious problem for potato growers in North America. There are some reasons for this, according to American Vegetable Grower magazine columnist, Carrie Wohleb. She is Associate Professor/Regional Specialist – Potato, Vegetable, and Seed Crops, at Washington State University. In an article published last week, Wohleb discusses a range of important issues regarding PVY, including how growers and consultants can identify the presence of the disease in a timely fashion when scouting potato fields. Read the article

Plant disease diagnostic company expands into the US

Related imagePocket Diagnostic® announces the addition of another distributor of its plant disease rapid tests in the United States. Potadaho Seed Services (“Potadaho”) joins the Pocket Diagnostic distributor network having amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience working in the potato industry in the Pacific Northwest over many years. UK based Pocket Diagnostic plant disease tests have been benefiting the potato, horticulture and forestry industries for nearly twenty years. Pocket Diagnostic produces in-field results in a matter of minutes, which enables advisors, inspectors and growers alike to confirm the presence of a plant pathogen quickly, including Potato virus Y, Ralstonia solanacearum, and Phytophthora. Says Sales and Marketing Executive Malcolm Briggs: “We are pleased to add to our growing distributor network in North America. Last year we were delighted to announce our first partner in the States alongside the addition of a Canadian distributor. The addition of another distributor in this region further enhances our position in the plant health testing market.” Read more

Hot potato fries: A different kind of brain food

Related imageA team of international scientists appear to have discovered why hot potato fries/chips are so tasty. Simply put, the brain gets ‘hijacked’ by the combination of high-fat and high-carbohydrates – making hot chips and similar food highly attractive. Scientists from Yale University wired 206 people up to brain scanners, and then showed them images of fatty, carby and so-called ‘combo’ snacks like hot fries – which are high in both carbs and fat. Every time an image of a combo snack came on the screen, the reward centres in the subjects’ brains lit up – regardless of whether they said they liked it or not. The research paper was published in the journal Cell Metabolism and re-posted by Scimex. In essence the scientists found that foods high in both fat AND carbohydrates trigger the reward centre of the brain, more so than other processed foods that may just contain one or the other.  Continue reading

More than a mouthful: Doritos launches ‘world’s largest’ foot-long chips…

Doritois just launched the "world's largest" foot-long chips, available for a limited time.So much for snack-sized. Doritos is launching special foot-long Doritos, the biggest in the world, available for a limited time. The “Jurassic”-sized chips are part of a special collaboration with the upcoming dinosaur sequel, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” In a special promo video advertising the colossal Doritos, Dr. Henry Wu (played by BD Wong) can be seen in the lab cooking up his latest creation by merging Doritos and dinosaur DNA. His assistant, meanwhile, can’t help but munch on the first successfully “hatched” chip. Anyone interested in adopting one of these monster creations, available in the classic Nacho Cheese flavor, can do so by tweeting Doritos with the hashtags #JurassicDoritos #entry or bid in an auction at JurassicDoritos.com until June 20, according to a press release. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to the American Red Cross for disaster relief efforts in Hawaii, where many scenes from the Jurassic films were shot. Doritos is an American brand of flavored tortilla chips produced since 1964 by Frito-Lay, a wholly owned subsidiary of PepsiCo. (Source: Fox News Life)

In the firing line: Trade war targets iconic Idaho potatoes

As the centerpiece of state’s agricultural industry, the Idaho potato is iconic. For many Americans, it’s Idaho’s only notable characteristic, a source of annoyance for locals and tourists who have plenty of reasons to love the Gem State. Whether or not one relishes Idaho’s reputation as the land of potatoes, the vegetable remains an important pillar of the state economy — a resilient export backed by proven quality and true marketing power. That reliability may be in question following a suite of tariffs imposed by Mexico in retaliation to President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Mexican steel and aluminum. Among the products targeted, which largely center on major exports from predominantly Republican states, are potatoes, which were hit with a 20-percent tariff. According to Idaho State Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Chanel Tewalt, those tariffs could put the Idaho potato’s quality and brand strength to the test. Read more

Old foe, new offspring: What do we know about the new, emerging clones of Phytophthora Infestans in Europe?

In an insightful and important article published earlier this week on the EuroBlight website, late blight expert Dr Jens Gronbech Hansen in Denmark asks: What do we know at this time about the new clones of all potato growers’ arche enemy, Phytophthora Infestans? Hansen says that over the last five years EuroBlight has undertaken and coordinated an extensive survey of European populations of the late blight pathogen, P. infestans. The most recent data from the EuroBlight monitoring initiative highlighted the emergence of three new clonal lineages, named EU_36_A2, EU_37_A2 and EU_41_A2, in different parts of Europe. As ever, this raises the question of the epidemic potential of these newcomers, and of their impact on late blight management strategies. Are those strains more aggressive than other types? Are they less sensitive to fungicides? What cultivars are now under threat? Do I have to change my control strategy? These are the questions farmers and potato advisors are asking. Read the full article on the EuroBlight website

McCain trialing multi-species cover crop blend for rotation in Canada’s potato province

Soil organic matter (SOM) has become a popular topic of discussion in the past year in Canada. On Prince Edward Island, still Canada’s largest potato producing province, the issue of low SOM levels is also a concern. During the 2018 International Potato Technology Expo this past February, soil health was one of the topics for presentation and discussions, as much of a concern among industry stakeholders as it is for growers. One of the surprising sights at the 2018 Potato Expo was at the McCain booth, where attendees could view a slide presentation on the company’s introduction of a multi-species cover crop blend, with a bag of the seed mix on display. Bryce Drummond, territory manager with McCain Fertilizer, a division of McCain Produce, notes the soil organic matter issue has been developing for decades but that it’s become more serious in the past 10 to 15 years. In the past few years, McCain has come up with two blends of rotation crops to try and boost soil organic matter of potato fields on PEI, a one-year (annual) and a two-year. Read more

Spud think tank: Roundup of the World Potato Congress event in Peru

World Potato Congress highlights scientific advances Tubers were the talk of the town in Cusco, Peru during the week of May 27, when the 10th World Potato Congress (WPC) and the 28th Congress of the Latin American Potato Association (ALAP) were held together for the first time. The event drew more than 800 participants from 50 countries to the potato’s center of origin for four days of scientific presentations, networking, field trips and celebration of the potato’s cultural and economic importance. The role that potatoes can play in improving the lives and health of the world’s population was a major theme of the gathering. The dozens of presentations at the congress proved that the potato is one of the world’s most diverse crops, with perhaps as much or more undiscovered as known potential. Governments and businesses across the globe view the crop as a way of feeding people nutritionally and affordably, from using resources more efficiently to resisting pest, drought and disease to breeding enhanced health benefits and even the appeal of peel. Cedric Porter, Editor of World Potato Market, wrote a roundup of the research presentations at the Congress in Peru.  Continue reading

Kettle Foods to invest £2.7M in facility upgrades

Kettle Foods is to invest in Norwich siteKettle Foods, the crisp manufacturer, is to invest £2.7m at its Norwich site in the UK to develop a new potato intake building. The new project will see the relocation and upgrade of Kettle Foods’ entire potato reception process to a new building on spare land adjacent to the existing factory. This will mean that there will be almost no interruption to current manufacturing, the company said. The project will see the introduction of a new intake and grading building that includes a bulk trailer bay suitable for housing eight articulated potato trailers. New potato grading equipment will be installed to remove soil, stones and small potatoes, along with a barrel washing machine that cleans the potatoes delivered to site. Sampling and lab services will be conducted in the new building by a team from the Kettle Growers Group. This is the biggest investment since the site was expanded in 2011. The company has been processing potatoes in Norwich for 30 years and for 25 years at the current site in Bowthorpe. Read more

Western Australia releases latest update on presence of tomato potato psyllid

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Western Australia (DPIRD WA) has released the latest industry update on the presence of the tomato potato psyllid (TPP) in the state. This update, which is available in English or Vietnamese, contains information on a range of related areas, including the wind-up of the transition to management phase for the response, a snapshot of results from TPP research and development, and reminders about pre-harvest control options and the Quarantine Area currently in place in Western Australia. The TPP research and development profiled in this latest industry update includes laboratory trials on insecticides; laboratory trials on biological control agents (BCAs); glasshouse trials on the efficacy of insecticides with BCAs against TPP in capsicum, tomato and potato; and laboratory trials on post-harvest disinfestation. There continues to be no detection of Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) in Australia to date. Read more

King of the vegetable tribe in the US: The Spud. Of course…

According to the USDA/ERS (Economicc Research Service) food availability data, Americans consumed an average of just over 156 pounds of fresh and processed vegetables per person in 2015. The loss-adjusted food availability data series takes per capita supplies of food available for human consumption and adjusts for some of the spoilage, plate waste, and other losses in restaurants, grocery stores, and the home to more closely approximate consumption. Potatoes claimed the #1 spot at nearly a third of the total – just more than 48 pounds per person. This includes both fresh potatoes and processed products (frozen, canned, and dehydrated potatoes and potato chips and shoestrings). Canned tomatoes are the leading canned vegetable, and total tomato consumption—fresh and canned—came in second at about 28 pounds per person. Fresh and dehydrated onions came in at a sad 7.7 pounds per person in 2015, with carrots, sweet corn, and romaine and leaf lettuce lagging behind to finish the list of America’s top seven vegetable choices. A chart was published in ERS’s Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials data product. High resolution chart. [Said someone at the water cooler: “Told ‘ya so…” – Editor, PNT]