Key Technology and Heat and Control announce strategic partnership in Australia, New Zealand and India

Key Technology, Inc., a member of the Duravant family of operating companies, and Heat and Control Pty Ltd. announced that they have entered into a strategic partnership to support customers in Australia, New Zealand and India. Under the terms of the agreement, Key has appointed Heat and Control as their exclusive agent to sell and service Key’s digital sorters, vibratory conveyors and other automation systems in Australia, New Zealand and India, effective immediately. The partnership leverages Heat and Control’s extensive sales and service organization to sell and support all of Key’s equipment in the defined regions, including providing application testing, field service and spare parts. Additionally, Heat and Control will manufacture select Key-designed vibratory conveyors at their facilities in Australia and India in strict accordance with Key’s specifications. Bringing these two well-established, world-class suppliers together to achieve a common purpose augments both companies’ value propositions and benefits customers.  Continue reading

Hopes for potato farming in Cambodia running high

Image result for cambodia potatoesAfter determining the best provinces in the country to grow potatoes, Cambodian scientists are now working to figure out what varieties adapt best to the local soil and will have the highest yields, according to a report by Khmer Times. Initial tests conducted by scientists at the Potato Research Institute, a centre in the Royal University of Agriculture, suggest that three provinces have the right soil and climate conditions for growing the crop. Song Kheang, the director of Mondulkiri’s agriculture department, said further testing is needed before proceeding to plant the crop, however. “Our potatoes will sell very well in Phnom Penh. Cambodia now imports a lot of potatoes from abroad, but we will soon begin producing ourselves which means we will reduce our reliance on imports,” Mr Kheang added. Cambodia now imports more than 5,000 tonnes of potatoes every year from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, Australia and the US, according to the Potato Research Institute. Read more

Trade dispute: China retaliates with tariffs on fries and dehy

Image result for national potato councilThe escalating trade war between the U.S. and China increased further as both sides recently announced new multi-billion tariffs on a host of goods. As expected, China included U.S. fries and dehy on their announced retaliation list. The new tariffs are 10% on fries and 25% on dehy. “We’re monitoring this situation in coordination with U.S. trade officials. Our message to all parties has not changed. They need to settle these issues at the negotiating table urgently, as the negative economic impacts of these tariffs will only increase over time,” said John Keeling, NPC CEO. The implementation date for these tariffs is currently unknown and contingent upon the U.S. taking firm action following the announcement of increased tariffs against Chinese exports. (Source: Potato Bytes / National Potato Council)

Indian-Dutch cooperation to set up centre for excellence for potato seed development

Related imageA centre for excellence for potato-seed is all set to become a reality in India’s Gujarat province, through a collaboration between Indian and Dutch companies. The setting up of the centre for excellence is being facilitated by the Netherlands Business Support Office (NBSO), with a view to helping produce better quality potatoes which will help improve the marketable yield of potatoes. “We aim to produce better quality seed-potato with the use of latest technology and innovative farming processes. This will not just improve the quality of seed potatoes for the farmers of Gujarat but also help improve the yield,” said Alphonsus Stoelinga, the ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands to India, who was in Ahmedabad at the kick-start ceremony of Gujarat Seed Valley Federation (GSVF). “We will start a pilot project through collaboration between a Gujarat-based firm and a Dutch company,” said Amlan Bora, Trade and Investment Commissioner of Netherlands to Gujarat. Read more

Belgian fries to exhibit at WOFEX Manila 2018

Who doesn’t love a good fry? The crisp, golden potato sticks are the definition of heaven for a lot of people. A lot of people have probably seen photos and videos of people lining up for fries with an accompanying caption that claims Belgium has the best ones. Belgium happens to be in the middle of the best place to grow potatoes in Europe. Belgium takes its fries so seriously that the frietkot or fries shop is recognized as an intangible cultural heritage and there are about 5,000 of those shops in that small country. Belgium also has a museum dedicated to fries. There are a few stories as to how the French fry got its name which includes geographically challenged soldiers and culinary techniques. No matter the story, Belgians are proud to say that the fry did, in fact, come from Belgium and not from France. From August 1 to 4, 2018, the Flanders Agricultural Marketing Board (VLAM) will bring together five major Belgian fries exporters to exhibit as a group at WOFEX Manila 2018 (World Food Expo).  Continue reading

Restoring order following Japan’s potato shortage boosts Calbee’s bottom line

Calbee has reported healthy growth in its first quarter. Pic: ©GettyImages/Pavlo_KThe Japanese snack giant reported net sales of $551m for the first three months of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, due to increased sales of snack foods in the domestic market. Analysts expected the company to report $5.43bn, an increase of 6.92% over the prior year quarter. The company said sales of potato chips increased significantly due to the continued strong demand since sales resumed last year after a disastrous potato shortage was caused by four typhoons in August 2016, which hit the Hokkaido region, which supplies 80% of Japan’s potatoes. Sales of potato chips were halted for three months, sparking a buying frenzy among Japanese consumers who scrabbled to stockpile the last remaining bags of their favorite snack. Calbee North America also posted improved costs due to a reduction in losses from waste. Read more

The K-factor: Scientists take a closer look at the critical role of potassium in plant stress response

Related imageScientists in China published a research paper a few years back on potassium and its influence on plants, in particular how plants respond to stress. “Potassium (K) is an essential nutrient that affects most of the biochemical and physiological processes that influence plant growth and metabolism. It also contributes to the survival of plants exposed to various biotic and abiotic stresses,” they wrote. Their review focuses on the emerging role of K in defending against a number of biotic and abiotic stresses, including diseases, pests, drought, salinity, cold and frost and waterlogging. The availability of K and its effects on plant growth, anatomy, morphology and plant metabolism are discussed. The physiological and molecular mechanisms of K function in plant stress resistance are reviewed. The researchers also evaluate the potential for improving plant stress resistance by modifying K fertilizer inputs and highlights the future needs for research about the role of K in agriculture. Read the abstract and full paper

The new ‘plastic’: These potato based biodegradable bags dissolve in water, burn like paper, and are edible

envigreen1Bags made of potatoes could replace plastic as the biodegradable and recyclable alternative for grocery bags in India – a country where slow yet firm steps are being taken towards getting rid of plastic grocery bags. These environment friendly bags are manufactured and distributed in several cities in India by startup business EviGreen. The bags look like plastic bags, but are made of materials like natural potato and tapioca starch and vegetable oil derivatives. If placed in a glass of water at normal temperature, an EnviGreen bag dissolves in a day. And when placed in a glass of boiling water, it dissolved in just 15 seconds. These bags take less than 180 days to biodegrade naturally once discarded. So users can throw them away without worrying about harming the environment. The bags are even edible and will cause no harm to animals if ingested.  Continue reading

Tiny but effective: Researchers developed new nano-material as potato sprout inhibitor

Related imageIn a research paper published recently online in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, scientists from Hefei Institute of Physical Science in China claim they have developed a nano-material that inhibits the sprouting of potatoes. The material is named “hydrophobic nano silica” (H-SiO2) and was developed through the modification of nano silica by amino silicon oil (ASO) – and then applied as a sprout inhibitor on potato tubers. The researchers say the material suppresses the formation of toxic glyco-alkaloids that typically is associated with the sprouting process. They further claim that treated tubers did not show a negative effect as far as germination is concerned when planted as seed. The material is said to be easily removed by washing prior to cooking since it does not penetrate the skin of tubers and thus does not pose a food safety risk. Although not commercialized at this point in time, the new material does seem to be of interest to those who specializes in potato sprout inhibitors. An abstract of the research and contact details can be found on the website of the ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering journal.

Key Technology appoints Bret Larreau as Director of Latin America and Asia Sales

Key Technology, a member of the Duravant family of operating companies, announces the promotion of Bret Larreau to the position of Director of Latin America and Asia Sales. Larreau is responsible for managing Key’s sales activities in the Latin America, Asia Pacific and Australia/New Zealand regions to bring the company’s digital sorters, vibratory conveyors and other automation systems to food processors and other manufacturers. In addition to managing sales in these regions, Larreau will continue to support Key’s close relationship with PepsiCo’s global business as their Major Account Manager. “This InterContinental region is extremely important to Key – we’ve got a strong foundation with experienced sales and service teams and an impressive installed base of equipment. We are positioned for growth with our best-in-class VERYX® sorters and Iso-Flo® conveyors, since processors in these regions increasingly want sophisticated technologies to improve product quality and food safety as well as yields as they compete globally for business,” said Steve Pellegrino, Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Key.  Continue reading

South Korean consumers shift toward imported potatoes

Image result for south korean potatoesProduction of fresh potato in Korea is expected to increase in calendar year 2018, to 530,000 tonnes; up 14 per cent from 2017. Despite higher domestic volumes, a USDA Gain report states that consumers continue to shift toward consumption of imported potatoes and potato products. Following the resolution of a phytosanitary issue in the US’ Pacific Northwest, US exports of fresh potato are expected to increase to South Korea in 2018. Overall, the report predicts that domestic potato production is likely to decrease gradually over the coming years as consumers prefer pre-prepared and processed potato products. Smaller families and a lower frequency of eating at home are also attributed to the predicted decline. Read more. Full GAIN report 

Taco Bell wants to ‘Make Potato Great’ again in India

Image result for Crispy PotacoAloo Jeera, Aloo Gobhi, Aloo Matar, Aloo Palak, Aloo Methi; these are just some of the more typical items you’ll find on most Indian menus. Boiled, mashed, baked, blanched, fried et al, the humble potato, a staple for many, can be served up in so many (many) forms and thus, caters to a wide variety of taste buds. But what does it have to do with Taco Bell? Well, the American fast-food brand has decided to decode Indian’s insatiable love affair with the mighty potato with the introduction of an all-new ‘Crispy Potaco‘ to their menu and the aim to #MakePotatoGreat. Through this digital-only campaign, conceptualised by Ogilvy and seemingly aimed at millennials, Tanmay Bhat, comedian and social influencer, is seen in the video pitching the product or rather, the potato, to investors. India as a region continues to be a key growth focus for Taco Bell globally and the brand believes it can be one of their biggest markets outside of the US, in the near future. Read more

PepsiCo attempts health focus in Thailand

PepsiCo Food, a part of Pepsi-Cola Thai Trading Co and the maker of Lay’s potato chips, is shifting to healthier snack options. The company aims to make Sunbites, a multigrain snack, healthy snack brand among Thais. The move is part of Pepsi-Cola’s 2016-25 strategic plan to focus on three core priorities: improving health and well-being through the products it sells, protecting the planet and empowering people around. The company previously launched baked potato chips under the Lay’s brand and moved to use rice bran oil, replacing palm oil. Lay’s potato chips have grown in double-digits in the first five months of this year to grow by 17%.  Read more

Plants in the bag: PepsiCo India to launch plant-based packaging for Lay’s chips

Image result for lays indiaRising concerns around plastic pollution have compelled FMCG companies to rethink their packaging solutions. Food and beverage major PepsiCo, for instance, announced it will launch the first-ever 100% compostable, plant-based packaging for Lay’s and Kurkure snacks products, this year. “As a responsible leader in the food and beverage industry, our Performance with Purpose 2025 goal is to design all packaging to be recoverable or recyclable, and supports increased recycling of plastic waste,” said Ahmed ElSheikh, president & CEO at PepsiCo India. “India will be among the first countries to pilot this new, sustainable packaging solution developed by PepsiCo.” Kraft Heinz had no comment when TheStreet asked for their response. Mondelez responded by saying it does not comment on rumors or speculation. PepsiCo did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheStreet. Read more

US and Indonesia sign market access agreement for US fresh potatoes

Related imageOn June 5, the United States and Indonesia reached a market access agreement that will allow U.S. fresh potatoes to be exported to Indonesia under a defined set of phytosanitary requirements. The agreement comes after four years of discussions and will include both U.S. chipping potatoes for further processing and table-stock potatoes for direct consumption. Potatoes produced in all U.S. states are included in the agreement. U.S. potato growers and exporters will need to follow the requirements in the protocol to ensure Indonesia’s quarantine security, according to a June 12 press release issued by Potatoes USA. This includes growing from certified seed potatoes, taking actions to address any potential pests of concern, and sprout inhibiting the potatoes prior to export. Importers in Indonesia will be required to obtain an import permit prior to export. Indonesia is a market of 261 million people and is the largest market in Southeast Asia to which U.S. fresh potatoes had not previously secured formal market access. Read more