Potatoes South Africa’s annual Congress to focus on value chains

Image result for potatoes south africaAccording to Potatoes South Africa, it is of great importance that stakeholders in the food value chain produce that what will satisfy consumers’ tastes and preferences at affordable prices – and that also rings true for the potato industry. Consumers’ tastes and preferences are constantly changing due to a number of factors that include amongst others, changes in household income, trending societal influences and lifestyle changes. The stakeholders in the potato value chain have to listen to consumers in order to understand and pre-empt how consumer tastes and preferences might change over time, and then to re-engineer itself if needed in order to remain relevant. During the upcoming Potatoes South Africa Congress, experts in different potato value chains will share ideas on what is required of the potato industry to remain relevant and grow the demand for potatoes and potato products in South Africa. The Congress will be held on September 28 in teh OR Thambo Hotel in Gauteng province. The theme of the Congress is: Do value chains really matter… And if so, where is the value? Further information on the Potatoes South Africa website.

What can caterers do to rehabilitate the potato, cash in on its plus points? Advice from leading companies

Bannisters' Farm cheese and bacon-filled potato skins

In an article written for The Caterer, author Anne Bruce writes: “The potato may not enjoy the health kudos of other vegetables, but caterers can turn its enormous versatility and widespread popularity to good account by developing premium products that boost consumer spend. Where would a restaurant be without potatoes? …So what can caterers do to rehabilitate the potato, cash in on its plus points and get maximum value from potato-based products?” Bruce interviewed spokespeople from several leading potato companies in the UK and Ireland on their viewpoints. Nigel Phillips, UK & Ireland country sales manager at potato supplier Lamb Weston, says potatoes are a great host for all sorts of toppings and can benefit from trends such as street food. Mohammed Essa, general manager of Aviko UK & Ireland, says the biggest margins will be made on innovative, premium products that give customers value for money, and something different from what they would eat at home. Convenience remains key to operators when using potatoes, says supplier Farm FritesContinue reading

Study: Consumers in Spain prefer fresh potatoes; buy potato products also via e-commerce channels

Image result for la patata frescaAccording to a news story published by the Spanish website Argenpapa, consumers in Spain bought a total of 1,32 million kilos of potatoes during March 2016 and March 2017 – 6.3 million kilos more than in the same time period for the previous year. This translates into an increase of 87 million euros. A study done by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment in Spain found that consumers prefer fresh potatoes, a segment that represents more than 70% of total potato consumption, or 22 kilos per person annually. The average consumption of all potato products (including processed) is about 30 kilos per person per year. Households with single and retired adults have the highest consumption rates, which stand at an average of 41 and 43 kilos per person per year respectively. The study further found that potatoes and potato products bought by Spanish consumers through e-commerce channels grew by 21% since 2016. Read the full story in Spanish

Sweden: Good potato crop expected; consumers view potatoes as healthy

Related imageAlthough some areas are more affected than others, Lars Elofson of Svensk Potatis says that generally there was not much damage to potato crops in Sweden due to the cold weather during April / May. Most of the Swedish potato production, around 40%, takes place in the southern region of Skane. According to Elofson, potatoes are of good quality and growers are at present not expecting any serious problems to show up this season. Soloist is the most common early variety planted in Sweden, followed by other popular varieties later in the season, such as Magda and Rocket. “Organic production is still growing in Sweden, and I expect that this season it will increase by 3-5%,” Lars mentions. Continue reading

Allowing Simplot’s GMO potatoes called ‘foolhardy’ by Council of Canadians

Leo Broderick

Leo Broderick has concerns about GMO potatoes (Council of Canadians)

The Council of Canadians is pressing the provincial government to keep genetically modified potatoes out of Prince Edward Island soil. Council chair Leo Broderick questions the science behind Innate generation 2 potatoes, and added that the Island. would be better off staying away from the controversy surrounding genetically modified food. Canadian officials approve Simplot’s second generation GMO potatoes last week. Broderick noted P.E.I. is already attracting attention as a producer of genetically modified salmon. “It would be foolhardy for the province to allow genetically engineered potatoes to be grown in the province,” said Broderick. “If we add genetically engineered potatoes we will have a very poor image and that’s not the kind of image that we want for the province.”  Continue reading

‘Meat attack’ – Meat snacks clock faster growth than potato chips, says Mintel

Image result for snack attack chips  funnyMeat snacks are the third biggest category of salty snacks in the US and also the fastest-growing sub-segment, according to Mintel. research figures Sales of meat snacks – such as jerky, pork scratchings, salami sticks, kabanosy (Polish pork sausage) and biltong (a spicy South African dried meat snack) – are on the rise as consumers search for high protein, low carb snacks, reported the market researcher. Value sales in the US grew over 6% between 2015 and 2016, following a 12% growth between 2014 and 2015. Dollar sales of meat snacks at $3.3bn still lagged behind potato chips – ($8.2bn) in 2016 – but meat snack sales growth well surpassed that of potato chips (which was up 1.3% between 2015 and 2016). IRI and Mintel data also pointed to volume growth of 11% in the UK, making meat snacks one of the fastest growing segments in the UK snack market, second only to popcorn; while, in Germany, consumers of meat snacks rose from 8% in 2012 to 24% in 2016. More

Nielsen research confirms that microwaveable category is strong and leading US brand is outpacing competition

A recent study on the microwaveable/steamable fresh potato segment conducted by Nielsen FreshFacts® highlights the continuing positive performance of this segment led by Side Delights® Steamables™ – which accounts for more than half of all dollar sales in the category. Potatoes still lead as the #1 ranked vegetable based on volume sales, and the microwavable/steamable potato segment growth trend continues – up 12.6% in volume sales and up 28.4% in dollar sales versus last year. Side Delights® Steamables dominate with 62% of the dollar share and 63% of the volume share in the segment despite a comparatively smaller product grouping than the competition (6 items for Side Delights® Steamables versus 25 items for the competition). Additionally, Side Delights® Steamables’ dollar velocity outpaced the competition, selling faster than any of the other brands. The top two selling Side Delights® Steamables items (in dollar and volume) are the Red and Golden potatoes, which increased their distribution 18.2% and 15.8% respectively vs YAGO. Side Delights® Steamables are available exclusively through the Fresh Solutions Network. Continue reading

Potatoes seen as healthy product in Sweden

Although some regions were affected more than others, Lars Elofson from Svensk Potatis in Sweden says that overall there was not too much damage to the potato crop from the cold weather during April/May. The potatoes are in good condition and with the current weather conditions, growers don’t expect any issues this season. “Organic production continues to increase in Sweden, and I suspect it will increase by around 3-5% this season,” said Lars. Over the last 10 years, potato consumption in Sweden has been stable, if not slightly increasing, compared to a majority of countries during the same time period, who saw potato sales drop. “We have been actively working on educating consumers about the nutritional value of potatoes and most people in Sweden view them as a healthy food. This came with lots of help, from food fairs, chefs, commercial advertising, paid articles, along with social media like Facebook and Instagram,” Lars continued. More

McDonald’s takes on the fast-food dead zone

Image result for mcdonaldsTo lure more mid-afternoon customers, McDonald’s Corp. is rejecting its recent health-food kick and rolling out the sweets: croissants, muffin tops and a new sundae-topping station for ice cream lovers. The challenge is daunting. The hours between lunch and dinner are a fast-food dead zone. Only about 5 percent of McDonald’s customers show up at non-meal times such as 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., according to Peter Saleh, an analyst with BTIG in New York. “You’re going to have to give customers a real reason to come in during that off-peak hour,” he said. McDonald’s has a lot riding on the initiative. McDonald’s is pushing the more indulgent side of snacking with its 620-calorie turtle brownie sundae, topped with hot fudge, caramel, whipped cream and salted pecans. But the chain might do better if it promotes more traditional McDonald’s food during slower afternoon times, according to data from NPD Group. The most-ordered snacks in the U.S. are burgers and fries. More

Numbers suggest sustainability sells produce

Image result for sustainabilityThe numbers show sustainability sells produce, said Andrew Mandzy, director of strategic insight with New York-based Nielsen, which tracks retail sales trends. “Many consumers are trying to be responsible citizens of the world, and they expect the same from corporations, so when it comes to purchasing, they are doing their homework,” Mandzy said. Before they make buying decisions, shoppers check labels, glean websites for business and manufacturing practices and pay attention to public opinion on specific brands in the news or on social media, he said. The industry is responding, but the direction of change isn’t always clear, grower-shippers say. “One of the most difficult things in terms of a comprehensive program continues to be the lack of clarity relative to our customers’ expectations,” said Eric Halverson, executive vice president of technology with Grand Forks, N.D.-based potato grower-shipper Black Gold Farms. More

Book report: Why are crisps SO addictive?

Have you ever wondered why you couldn't stop at just one crisp? Femail can reveal the lengths cunning companies go to to achieve that moreish effect, from shape to satisfying crunchBritain is a nation of crisp (chip) fanatics, consuming about six billion packets a year. That’s one ton of crisps every three minutes, or nearly 100 packets per person — more, it is thought, than anywhere else in Europe. In his latest book Salt, Sugar, Fat: How The Food Giants Hooked Us, best-selling author Michael Moss reveals why crisps (chips) are irresistible. Salt provides an arresting sensation on first contact with the tongue, called ‘the flavour burst’ by the food industry. Fat from the oil in which crisps are fried gives ‘mouthfeel’ — experienced through the trigeminal nerve, which sends pleasure sensations to the brain. Sugar, meanwhile, isn’t only present in the potato starch but is often added by manufacturers to make crisps all the more enticing. Our desire for foods containing fat, salt and sugar is thought to have come from our hunter-gatherer ancestors, who craved high-energy foods. Worryingly, some experts have found similarities in the brains of crisp-lovers and drug addicts. More

Report: ‘Potato cartel forced Americans to pay higher prices for their fries’

Melanie WilliamsUS potato-grower cooperatives in the early 2000’s deployed drones and scanned satellite images as they colluded to reduce the amount of potatoes grown across the country in an effort to increase their profits, according to a report by California State University, Northridge business law professor Melanie Stallings Williams. “If you had a potato in the last decade or so, then you paid significantly more because of widespread collusion in the potato industry,” Williams said. “Every time you went to McDonald’s, every time you had something that had potato starch added to it, you paid more.” Williams and her colleagues published their findings in a report titled “The OPEC of Potatoes: Should Collusive Agricultural Production Restrictions Be Immune from Antitrust Law Enforcement?” in the winter 2017 edition of Virginia Law & Business Review. Their report is the result of an investigation of American potato farmers as part of an antitrust, class-action lawsuit brought by potato buyers against the United Potato Growers of America (UPGA) and the United Potato Growers of Idaho (UPGI), collectives of farmers and agricultural cooperatives that agreed to reduce the output of potatoes. The collectives settled the lawsuit in 2015 before it went to court. More

Australians urged to eat more potatoes in new campaign

A push by West Australian potato growers to get their spuds back on dinner plates every day to help ease a massive glut began Saturday night with the start of a prime-time television advertising campaign named Todatoes. The campaign, to include digital and billboard advertising, encourages people to eat more potatoes, more often, by offering recipes and promoting their nutritional benefits. WA Potato Growers Association chief executive Simon Moltoni said the campaign came at a critical time for local farmers as they adjusted to a newly deregulated market and the loss of access to interstate markets after the detection in WA in February of an exotic pest called the tomato potato psyllid. The glut means WA farmers are now getting less for their potatoes than the cost of producing them. More

The new low carb potato taking New Zealand by storm

A New Zealand low-carbohydrate potato has been on the market for just three weeks, but is already proving to be a major success. T & G Global say they discovered the new variety, which has been labelled the Lotato™, by chance. “It was bred in Holland by cross pollinating two existing varieties of potatoes,” Executive General Manager Andrew Keaney said. “They were cross pollinated because they were high yielding, they had really good appearance and really good flavour. As a natural occurrence, quite by chance, it was found they were 40 per cent lower in carbs. When we compare the Lotato™, we compare with two commonly known varieties which is the Agria and the Rua potato. They weren’t specifically bred to be low carb, it was just by chance.” More

Spanish potatoes sold on Amazon

Innovating, modernising, profitability, adapting to the consumer of the 21st century… these are some of the concepts that are always mentioned in any forum addressing the agro-food industry and looking to the future. According to Juan Manuel Coello, Operations Director of Patatas Meléndez, “It is undoubtedly certain that the mindset of the current buyer is very different to that of previous times, and we have to adapt to new forms of consumption, current trends in food or new purchasing systems.” In this sense, Patatas Meléndez started selling some of its products through Amazon a little over a month ago. “It’s been a long process. We’ve been negotiating with them for three months, showing them that we meet their requirements. It’s an attractive new option and we believe that, with time, it will attract many customers.” Moreover, the company is selling three formats that seek to satisfy different market trends, thus offering the producer new options, new varieties and new ways of working with a more than interesting profitability.

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