Aviko to join direct-to-consumer movement

INS, the decentralized ecosystem for the grocery market, has announced that leading potato processing company, Aviko intends to be listed on the INS Ecosystem, joining the direct-to-consumer movement. Peter Fedchenkov, INS Founder explained that inequitable pricing, retailer influence and a lack of transparency are all major concerns for both manufacturers and consumers and the direct-to-consumer movement is on the agenda of FMCG companies everywhere. [Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) or consumer packaged goods (CPG) are products that are sold quickly and at relatively low cost.] “A direct marketplace powered by emerging technology brings us ever closer to not only addressing these concerns but solving inherent problems within the grocery sector. We are elated with the interest we have received to date from manufacturers worldwide who also wish to evolve their current processes, strengthening the obvious need for the direct-to-consumer movement. We are both delighted and eager to collaborate with Aviko,” added Fedchenkov.

McCain UK opens its own specialty ‘Roastaurant’ in London

McCain is opening the doors to its own speciality restaurant, the Roastaurant, to celebrate the diversity of one of the nation’s favourite meals. The Roastaurant will provide roast dinner lovers the choice of over 100,000 possible roast combinations as guests choose from a pick ‘n’ mix style menu. Featuring a unique ‘gravy microbrewery’ and a giant six metre squared roast potato platter filled with thousands of McCain Roasts, the Roastaurant is set to bring the ultimate roast dinner experience to London. To accommodate all roast dinner habits, whether it’s pigeon with onion rings covered in chocolate gravy, or beef brisket accompanied with a fried egg and a side of charred pineapple, the McCain Roastaurant will be dishing up a whole host of exploratory roast combinations, no matter how quirky they may be. The Roastaurant will be split into two sittings, the Full Roast and the Roasts and Gravy. It will open its doors on Friday 8 and Sunday 10 December. Tickets can be bought online. More

Aldi’s rocketing potato sales in Wales highlights popularity of homegrown produce

Aldi’s potato sales rocket in WalesAldi’s potato sales in Wales have risen by a third since the retailer began sales of Welsh potatoes five months ago, highlighting the popularity of homegrown produce in the country. The discounter began stocking Welsh-grown potatoes in July 2017, thanks in part to a £4.8 million government support package adopted in 2015, which allowed producers to expand their production. This has helped generate a 33 per cent increase in Aldi’s potato sales, and the supermarket has ordered an additional 11,000 tonnes of Welsh potatoes, worth around £5 million, for the 2017/18 season. Puffin Produce supplies the supermarket with Maris Piper, baking and red potatoes, which are grown in Pembrokeshire and the Wye Valley. Says Huw Thomas, managing director of Puffin Produce: “It is amazing that Aldi is able to see an immediate uplift of 33 per cent within their potato category in Wales by providing a Welsh offering. “It really does show the fierce loyalty of the Welsh consumer to the large Welsh flag on the bag.” More

US: Kettles’s chip bags track potatoes back to farm where they were grown

Chip Bags Track Potatoes Back To The Farm Where They Were GrownKettle Brand potato chip company has started placing Tater Tracker codes on its chip bags for customers to scan and learn about the farmers who supplied the crops for them. The code can be entered on Kettle’s website. When a customer enters the 10- to 14-digit code, they get to learn about one of the farmers who grew the ingredients for their specific bag of chips. The digital content comes with a brief biography about the farmers and an interactive 360 degree video tour of the farm. Kettle listed all of the farmers on its website for anyone to access. These farms include Allied Potato, Bula-Gieringer Farms, Burch Farms, Mortenson Bros. and others. Those interested in trying it out can purchase a bag of Kettle chips and find the code below the ‘best before’ stamp. Kettle Brand Tater Tracker (Source: psfk.com)

British processed potato exports rising; fresh potato sales continue long-term downward trend

Great Britain processed potato exports are up by 24%, while imports are also up by 5%, according to AHDB GB Potatoes Market Intelligence 2017–2018 report. Net import of fresh potatoes reached 54,000t, up by 22%, while seed exports have increased 3% and exports are down by 60%. “Although this comes as no surprise, due to the poor yields achieved on the continent in the previous year, seed was in very high demand and was reported to be fetching upwards of EUR/1,000/t for certain varieties,” according to the report. This was driven by a 62% reduction in seed from the Netherlands. According to the report, fresh potato sales have continued their long-term downward trend over the past five years, with volume sales declining by 4% and value sales declining by 19% in the period. On the other hand, AHDB conducts a consumer tracker survey to monitor attitudes toward potatoes, finding that 76% of consumers eat potatoes on a weekly basis and when asked, 71% of people surveyed said they considered potatoes to be healthy. More

Greenvale invests in new organic varieties

Greenvale invests in new organic varietiesGreenvale is investing heavily in new organic potato varieties as it looks to address a shortage in reliable, high-yielding organic potatoes. The producer and breeder, which claims to be the UK’s largest supplier of fresh organic potatoes, wants to support retailers as they try to grow this area of the market. It is looking to develop more hardy varieties than the Dutch and German potatoes currently on offer, which, according to technical and seed director Paul Coleman, “don’t produce a very big plant”. “Organics only account for about three to four per cent of potato sales at the moment,” he said. “It’s not a very big market and effectively it’s almost a service to the retailers to support all the other things we do. The supermarkets want an organic offering so you’ve got to be able to provide that. You’re not going to get rich on organics – in fact, you’re probably going to lose money – but it’s part of the overall range and you don’t make money across the whole piece.” More

US: Potandon launches CarbSmart yellow potatoes

Image result for carbsmart potato potandonIdaho-based Potandon Produce introduced its low-carbohydrate CarbSmart potato at Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit show in October, said Ralph Schwartz, vice president of sales.The new item is part of Potandon’s promotional focus on potatoes as healthy items, Schwartz said. It’s the first of many that will come out that have additional health benefits,” he said of CarbSmart. The product has 55% fewer carbohydrates than rice or pasta, Schwartz said. When you look at this potato, it has 7 grams less carbs per serving than a regular yellow potato. We’ve been testing it for years. It’s exciting.” More

How Frito-Lay is making its products healthier

Indian Tikka Masala, Yorkshire Pudding and Salmon Teriyaki Lay's potato chips“Somebody was telling me the other day that we have over 3,000 flavors in what we call our flavor bank,” said Christine J. Cioffe, Ph.D., senior vice-president, Sustainability and Global Snacks R.&D. at PepsiCo, Inc., parent company of Frito-Lay. “I think it speaks to the power of a company that operates across 200-plus countries.” Flavor, Dr. Cioffe said, is a “stronghold” for Frito-Lay. “It’s definitely a capability that R.&D. has built and strengthened over the last decade or so,” she added. “Flavor is going to continue to be an opportunity.” Meanwhile, the product development team at PepsiCo is focused on making its snacks healthier. The company has committed to limiting sodium and saturated fat while adding whole grains, vegetables and protein, said Elizabeth Roark, registered dietitian and principal scientist, PepsiCo Nutrition Services. In its Performance with Purpose 2025 Agenda PepsiCo outlined its nutrition goals. More

US: Promoting potatoes as “athletic fuel”

Image result for potatoes athletesRecently, Potatoes USA received approval to spend money toward research with the goal of launching more proactive campaigns around potato nutrition. Instead of reactively combating negative health claims against potatoes, Potatoes USA will more actively promote potatoes as part of an active lifestyle, including for high-performance athletes. When he unrolled this strategy earlier this year, Potatoes USA President Blair Richardson said this will supplement current marketing efforts but not replace them. The research isn’t finished yet, but the group is already taking steps toward this goal of promoting potatoes as athletic fuel. “We are not going to be on our heels, we are going to be on our toes,” said Kim Breshears, director of marketing programs for Potatoes USA to the recent BIG Idaho Potato Harvest Meeting on Nov. 14. More

Czech Republic creates tuber for health-conscious purple-potato eaters

 

In October, the the Potato Research Institute in the east-Bohemian city of Havlíčkův Brod in the Czech Republic, introduced the “Val Blue,” a debut 11 years in the making and the first new variety of potato bred at the Institute since 2005. Like most potatoes, Val is fairly unprepossessing at first glance. But inside, its flesh is a rich, royal violet color, which cooks up to a purple shade straight out of a box of Crayolas. The texture is smooth and dense, the flavor earthy and fairly non-distinctive. Rather like a potato, PRI geneticist Jaroslava Domkářová notes with a smile. According to Domkářová, the Val Blue’s vivid purple color is 30 percent more intense than that of its “mother” potato, the PRI-bred “Valfi.” Its trademark hue indicates an antioxidant load surpassing its white- and yellow-flesh relatives two or three times over. According to Domkářová, of the approximately 1,500 varieties of potato grown in the European Union, the Val Blue belongs to a rare cohort. More

US: Students dig in to help create new value from potatoes

Sterman Masser, Pennsylvania’s largest potato producer, knows consumers aren’t reaching for 5- and 10-pound bags of raw potatoes like they used to. Growing its business means adding more new and convenient products, so the company is eyeing a new spot in the grocery store’s produce department: the ready-to-eat, precut fruits and vegetables section. The national supplier is building upon its history of innovation to solve several problems. For example, cut potato flesh browns in 10 days — a fraction of the shelf-life of a raw, whole potato. Students in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences are working on finding solutions to that problem, plus the challenge of winning consumers over to a new product. “We’re trying to take potatoes to that next level and stay relevant,” said Dave Masser, president of Sterman Masser, and also a College of Ag Sciences alumnus. More

Nearly half of all fresh potatoes thrown away daily by UK households

potatoesHouseholds bin a “staggering” 5.8 million potatoes every day in the UK costing the nation £230m a year, figures from waste advisory body WRAP have revealed. Up to 1.7 million tonnes of potatoes are bought in the UK each year, yet almost half – 46 per cent or around 730,000 tonnes – end up being thrown away in UK homes, according to the WRAP-run Love Food Hate Waste campaign. Around half of consumers throw potatoes away because they do not get around to using them in time, WRAP research said, helping to make spuds the second most wasted food in the UK behind bread. As such, with autumn marking the start of potato season, WRAP is pushing its ‘Save Our Spuds’ campaign to raise awareness of the costs and environmental impacts of food waste and provide households with tips and recipes to store and use potatoes instead of binning them. More

Fast food restaurants driving increased demand for frozen potatoes in Japan

After storms decimated Japanese potato production in MY 2016/17, a recent report issued by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service in Japan (FAS/Tokyo) forecasts a substantial recovery of Japanese potato production in MY 2017/18 to 2.315 million metric tons, largely restoring production to pre-typhoon levels. Strong growth in Japan’s fast food and restaurant sectors, drove increased demand for frozen potato products such as french fries. Accordingly, FAS/Tokyo forecasts a six percent increase in Japan’s import and consumption of frozen potato products in MY 2017/18 (to 385,000 MT). Despite a reduced planted area in MY 2017/18, FAS/Tokyo also forecasts Japan’s fresh potato production to recover substantially to 2.315 million MT, an increase of 7.2 percent from MY 2016/17, but 2.7 percent less than MY 2015/16. Much of the recovery can be attributed to the planting of off-standard seed potatoes, which allowed farmers to stretch the available seed potatoes. Full report

UK: Branston’s Italian spuds return to Tesco

Branston's Italian spuds return to TescoBranston’s Italian new potatoes are back in Tesco stores for a seventh season. The spuds, grown in the Puglia region by Giuseppe Distaso, are being sold in 400 Tesco stores for five weeks. They represent the final seasonal new potato of the calendar year. Branston is suppliying more than 300 tonnes of the crop to Tesco, with shoppers able to purchase loose or in a 750g bag. “Our research shows that shoppers engage with new-season potatoes as they appreciate their fluffy skins and fresh taste,” said George Christoudias, sales and marketing director at Branston. “In season from late October, new potatoes from Italy are a highlight in the seasonal calendar. Renowned for their creamy texture, Italian potatoes are a new potato that will bring back memories of summertime with their light flavour.” More

US: Potato marketers weigh in on consumer trends

Idaho potato growers see two major trends with their products: consumers are increasingly looking for smaller pack sizes and for potatoes other than russets. Ralph Schwartz, vice president of marketing, sales and innovation at Idaho Falls, Idaho-based Potandon Produce LLC, mentioned the rise of 5-pound bags at retail, displacing 10-pounders in popularity. “I actually think there will be a resurgence in the popularity of big bags,” he said. “I still see a strong demand for big bags during Thanksgiving and Christmas.” Stephen Abend, chief operations officer for Nonpareil Farms, Blackfoot, Idaho, agreed that consumers prefer smaller pack sizes for russets — 3-pound, 4-pound and 5-pound bags. The increased interest in smaller pack sizes has spurred the industry to come up with new ideas and technology, said Kevin Stanger, president of Wada Farms Marketing Group, Idaho Falls, Idaho. More