North America

US: COVID-19, short supplies create hot potato market

Twenty-year potato industry veteran Lance Poole of Idaho-based Eagle Eye Produce Inc. was unequivocal in using the descriptor “hot” to describe the current potato market. “I’ve only seen a ‘hot’ market like this one other time in my more than 20 years in the industry,” said the executive vice president of the Idaho Falls company. “That was in 1998-99 soon[Read More…]

US potato industry scrambles to meet demand during coronavirus lockdown

Air fryers and toaster ovens around the country may go cold this week as the potato industry takes a major hit due to soaring demand for spuds amid the coronavirus lockdown. Now, potato farmers and distributors are working around the clock to keep tater-loving Americans full on the hearty vegetable, UPI reports, as millions take to their kitchens — some for the first time —[Read More…]

Frito-Lay accused of deceiving customers with labeling of artificially flavored potato chips

Legal Newsline reports that Frito-Lay North America Inc. is accused of misleading consumers by failing to disclose on the front label that its Ruffles cheddar and sour cream potato chips contain artificial flavoring, a class action lawsuit alleges. “Other brands of cheddar and sour cream ridged potato chips contain cheddar and sour cream seasoning with artificial flavor and identify their products as ‘Artificially Flavored’ on the front label,” the complaint says.

US: Why there will soon be tons of toilet paper, and what food may be scarce, according to supply chain experts

Stuck rationing toilet paper because you didn’t stockpile during the coronavirus panic over the last few days? Don’t worry, according to supply chain experts. “All the grocery stores are going to have pallets of toilet paper sitting in the aisles, and nobody is going to buy it, because who needs to buy toilet paper when you’ve got a year’s worth sitting in your garage?” Daniel Stanton, a supply chain expert. “The [food] brand that you normally want may not be available. But, hey, there’s some other kind of pasta. Or instead of rice, we’re going to have potatoes for dinner,” Stanton says.

Potato specialists provide guidelines on mitigating early planting risks

It’s really a very simple formula: increase the length of the growing season and increase the potential yield and profits from a potato crop. There isn’t much that can be done to avoid a season-ending frost sometime during the fall, so perhaps the most feasible way to extend the season is to plant the crop early, say potato specialists Mike Thornton and Nora Olsen at the University of Idaho. When making decisions on when to start planting, growers should be aware that there are also some substantial risks involved

US: Western Potatoes grows spuds for Frito-Lay

If you’re in the Panhandle and open up a bag of Frito-Lay potato chips, chances are good the potatoes came from one of the Western Potatoes locations in Alliance, Kansas or Colorado, according to an article published by the Star-Herald. Western Potatoes grows chip potatoes and seed potatoes in Alliance, Lincoln, Kan., and Holyoke, Colorado. They grow seed only in Gordon. The employee-owned operation is one of the largest seed growers for Frito-Lay, and has been working with the company since the late 1970s.

Canada: PVY in 2019 New Brunswick crop near lowest levels since regulatory caps began

Recent research presented at the N.B. Potato Conference and Tradeshow, Feb. 6th 2020, has highlighted the low levels of Potato virus Y (PVY) in the 2019 seed harvest in New Brunswick, Potato Country magazine reports. PVY levels in the N.B. industry have dropped dramatically since 2009. Average PVY level in all tested potato seed lots harvested in 2009 was 11.8%, which over a decade dropped to only 0.63% in the 2019 harvest.

Washington State trial program: Helping potato growers diagnose seed-borne issues

A Washington state trial program highlights the seed-borne diseases impacting potato crops across the region. The Washington Commercial Potato Seed Lot Trial has been conducted for 56 years since 1961. This useful trial also helps individual growers diagnose seed-borne issues that occasionally show up in their crop. Prof Carrie Huffman Wohleb at Washington State University explains how it works in an article published by American Vegetable Grower magazine.

Coronavirus Opinion: When a danger is growing exponentially, everything looks fine until it doesn’t

There’s an old brain teaser that goes like this: You have a pond of a certain size, and upon that pond, a single lilypad. This particular species of lily pad reproduces once a day, so that on day two, you have two lily pads. On day three, you have four, and so on. Now the teaser. “If it takes the lily pads 48 days to cover the pond completely, how long will it take for the pond to be covered halfway?” The answer is 47 days. Moreover, at day 40, you’ll barely know the lily pads are there.

Idaho stores somehow selling out of potatoes

Odd as it may sound, Idaho retailers have been experiencing fresh potato shortages lately, John O’Connell of Post Register reports. Several produce departments throughout the Gem State were sold out of every potato consumer bag and loose spud by Tuesday, as consumers seeking to stock their pantries for the coronavirus outbreak bought foods that store well by the cartload. “It is strange. I didn’t think I’d ever see a shortage, at least at the store level, of potatoes in Idaho,” said Travis Blacker, industry relations director with the Idaho Potato Commission.

Coronavirus in the US: ‘There is plenty of food in the country’

Americans have been alarmed by empty grocery shelves, but while food suppliers and retailers say they are struggling with surging demand, they insist the supply chain remains strong, write four reporters in an article published by the NY Times. The aisles and aisles of empty store shelves give the appearance that the United States, improbably and alarmingly, is running out of food. But the nation’s biggest retailers, dairy farmers and meat producers say that isn’t so.

Power of Produce 2020 report: How’s the industry doing on increasing consumption?

The percentage of U.S. consumers who eat fruits and vegetables daily has dropped noticeably in recent years, according to the new Power of Produce report. According to an article by Ashley Nickle, published in Produce Retailer, in 2018, 48% consumers reported eating fruits and/or vegetables just about every day. In 2019, the number dropped to 41%. In the most recent report, the number is 35%.

Potatoes USA has retailers’ backs with ‘Path to Purchase’ study

Lilian Diep is a trade news writer with AndNowUKnow. She recently wrote in an article: “I’m now privy to a wealth of resources, including Kayla Dome, Global Marketing Manager of Retail for Potatoes USA. I sat down with Kayla to find out how retailers can engage with consumers to capitalize on this staple category and maximize profits.” Below is some of what Lilian found out.

Crop rotation: Call in a nurse. A ‘nurse’ crop, that is

Recent years have seen increased attention on the health of the soil used in potato production, and attempts to bring potatoes into longer rotations with other crops, writes Ralph Pearce, CG Production Editor in Country Guide. The challenge across much of Eastern Canada is that some rotational crops such as soybeans and dry beans don’t add much residue to the soil. Aggressive tillage on sandier, porous soils with potato production in the Maritimes also makes it difficult to maintain organic matter.

Potato storage to be the focus of new endowed research professorship at Univ of Idaho

University of Idaho efforts to improve potato storage technology will benefit from a $1 million investment to create an endowed research professorship made possible by alumni Wayne and Peggy Thiessen and the Idaho Potato Commission. The Wayne Thiessen Potato Research Professorship will honor Wayne’s career in Idaho’s potato industry and the Thiessens’ longtime support of their alma mater. The commission is[Read More…]

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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