US: RPE to feature new product innovations at Fresh Summit

What’s new in the fresh potato category? From RPE, Inc. a new potato item, a unique approach for commodity product and fresh innovations that add value for both consumers and retailers alike. New featured item: SteamPak Mini™, for the health conscious and on-the-go consumer, is a single-serve package of fresh potatoes. Microwaving in four minutes for a great snack or side dish, SteamPak Mini has no additives and addresses a trend toward smaller pack sizes and a desire from consumers to reduce food waste. Unique approach for commodity product: Old Oak Farms® Party Potatoes, offered exclusively by RPE, are fingerling potatoes re-imagined with precise size specifications. RPE will also highlight Tasteful Selections Steam & Savor™ steamable bags featuring Organic Mini Sweet Potatoes, and White Russet® brand potatoes. More

Low carb potato variety wins New Zealand Food Award

Image result for LotatoesT&G’s Lotatoes has won The Ministry for Primary Industries Primary Sector Products Award at the 2017 New Zealand Food Awards. The category promotes, recognizes and showcases innovations in primary sector products, processing and packaging methods. Lotatoes came out on top with the judges being particularly impressed with the process used to naturally breed and sustainably grow the lower carbohydrate and fewer calorie potato that’s taken New Zealand by storm. “Lotatoes is a high-quality and delicious potato, sustainably grown right here in New Zealand by passionate farmers loved by kiwi consumers. We’re extremely proud of Lotatoes win at the 2017 New Zealand Food Awards,” says Andrew Keaney, executive general manager, T&G who accepted the top award. This potato, with 40% less carbs and fewer calories than other potato varieties, was developed by cross-breeding different varieties of potato seeds together. More

‘Chipocalypse’ in New Zealand as wild weather spikes price of potatoes

ChipsThe “chipocalypse” has reached New Zealand, after heavy rain caused a shortage of potato crops and a spike in prices. Supermarkets have been forced to place signs in their chip shelves, explaining to hungry customers why the beloved snack is out of sto“It started raining in March, and it just simply hasn’t stopped,” Chris Claridge, head of trade association Potatoes New Zealand, told Radio Live NZ. “Potatoes are actually alive — they need to breathe. And so, effectively, they drown and then they start to rot… because they’re submerged in water.” Two major floods have wiped out around one fifth of crops, with some regions seeing 30 percent of crops destroyed. Around 75,000 tonnes of potatoes are made into chips every year, which means these shortages will will havea detrimental effect on the snack. This shortage of potatoes has filtered down to food prices. In New Zealand, wIn New Zealand, where a kilogram of potatoes cost $1.28 last August, it’s now shot up to $1.67 this year. Potato chips are even scarce on shelves. Potato chips are even scarce on shelves. More

National Potato Day in Ireland: Consumers urged to choose Irish potatoes

PotatoNational Potato Day takes place in Ireland today, Friday, October 6. IFA (Irish Farmers’ Association) President Joe Healy has called on consumers and retailers to support the Irish potato sector. “It is a very important indigenous industry worth €85 million at farm gate, with 500 growers planting almost 9,000ha annually,” he said. IFA Potato Committee Chairman Eddie Doyle insisted: “Retailers recognise and respect the massive investments potato growers have made in machinery and cold storage, to ensure a continuous 12-month supply of Irish product. The chairman urged consumers to choose Irish potatoes ahead of other imported produce – in addition to making a healthy food choice they would also be supporting vital jobs in the rural economy, he said. Doyle also asked that the hotel and catering sectors ensure that their suppliers are sourcing Irish produce. More

US: Food service professionals tour Idaho potato harvest

Kevin Stanger, with Wada Farms in Pingree, Idaho, leads food service professionals on a tour of his facility. The tour was sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission.Twice each week, Egan Click, with Sysco Corp. in Chicago, inspects 100,000-pound rail loads of Idaho potatoes to make certain they meet customers’ size and quality specifications. But Click acknowledges that prior to participating in an Idaho Potato Commission-sponsored harvest tour, he didn’t fully appreciate the “unbelievable” process Idaho growers, packers and shippers follow to meet the standards associated with their state’s seal. Click was among the 28 professionals within the growing food service category IPC included in a Sept. 26-29 tour. Participants representing major potato markets such as Illinois, California, Texas and New York toured potato harvest, a fresh packing operation, a dehydrated potato plant and a frozen potato processing plant. Don Odiorne, IPC’s vice president of food service, said the food service professionals head home with photographs and stories about Idaho potato production to share with their staffs and may become “brand advocates.” More

Heavy demand for health foods: Manufacturers of potato chips are tapping in on trend

Image result for potato chipsTechnavio’s latest market research report on the global potato chips market provides an analysis on the most important trends expected to impact the market outlook from 2017-2021. Technavio defines an emerging trend as a factor that has the potential to significantly impact the market and contribute to its growth or decline. Manufacturers of potato chips are tapping in on the heavy demand for health foods by offering chips made from healthy ingredients, according to Technavio’s research. They often promote their products with health claims. The demand for functional and non-GMO ingredients is high due to the rising cases of obesity, diabetes, gluten allergy, and other maladies. Good Health Natural Products, a US-based potato chips manufacturer, introduced two new products under its Good Ingredient product range: Good Health Olive Oil Kettle Chips and Good Health Avocado Oil Kettle Chips. Continue reading

Studies show increase of global market for processed potato products

Reports made by research companies show the increase of the global market for processed potato products. Although the increase is not high, it has been a steady one in the past three years. PotatoBusiness.com analyzed two reports regarding the potato chips market and frozen finger potato chips. The global potato chips market will grow at a CAGR of 4.58% during the period 2017-2021, according to the “Global Potato Chips Market 2017-2021” report recently launched by Research and Markets. The latest trend gaining momentum in the market is the innovative product offerings. Manufacturers of potato chips are tapping on the heavy demand for health foods by offering chips made from healthy ingredients. The demand for functional and non-GMO ingredients is high due to the rising cases of obesity, diabetes, gluten allergy, and other maladies. More

Great British Menu chef to promote Northern Irish spuds

Potato producers in Northern Ireland have recruited Great British Menu contestant Mark Abbott to help grow sales through the industry’s Mighty Spud campaign. The initiative, launched last year to encourage more consumers to buy and cook potatoes, is led by the Northern Ireland Potato Promotion Group, which represents the local industry. The chef said: “The Mighty Spud is a great example of an innovative industry campaign which supports growth, awareness and a continued contribution to Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry.” Abbott, who is head chef at the two Michelin star Midsummer House in Cambridge, will be presenting his creations at a special event hosted by award-winning chef Michael Deane in his Michelin star restaurant in Belfast. The Mighty Spud event in Belfast is part of a programme of activities being held to increase awareness of local potatoes. More

Big issues coming home to roost for Ireland’s potato growers

If you ever venture over to Eastern Europe, you will find that when the good citizens there are looking for a quality starch food to go with their meat and vegetables, they don’t talk about the potato, but reach for the ‘Irish potato’. This is an example of the strong relationship we as a nation have to this basic of foodstuffs. You would think that with this strong relationship, at the very least, we would have a supply chain of potatoes that would be at least comprehensive, if not vibrant and progressive. Alas this is far from the case. The potato industry in Ireland is anything but vibrant, most of it isn’t even Irish. Any review of the potato industry (and there has been no shortage of them) inevitably blames the reduction in potato consumption on the rise of ‘pasta and rice’ and ‘hectic lifestyles’. These conclusions are usually accompanied by calls for more marketing and further reviews. More

French fries – Friend or foe?

That strip of golden goodness, that salty and crisp fried chip of a potato that makes burgers better, steaks superb and, generally, a meal magnificent. That’s what many of us think and feel about the French fry, frites or Belgian frieten, writes Andre Erasmus. But is it so, particularly the ’golden goodness’ part? Not according to the European Union and many food scientists. Acrylamide, says the EU, is ‘a carcinogenic substance that forms from naturally present free asparagine (amino acid) and sugars during high temperature processing, such as frying, particularly in potato-based products’. And this, obviously, would be bad news for the global potato industry, affecting both growers and processors. This follows some research in 2002 which showed a disposition towards cancer after consuming fried potato products. But Emma Shields, at charity Cancer Research UK, says: “Although evidence from animal studies has shown that acrylamide in food could be linked to cancer, this link isn’t clear and consistent in humans.” More

Maris Piper still king but British growers use new varieties to meet retail demand

British potato growers have planted an increased area of emerging varieties to serve the fresh packing market, amid reports of increased levels of ‘on-contract’ supermarket supply where prices are agreed in advance. However, Maris Piper comfortably remains the most planted potato, with three times more area than the next most popular fresh packing variety. The varieties that have gained the most area this season are fresh packing potatoes Nectar and Melody, which increased their area by 1,000 hectares (ha) and 700 ha respectively. Both are more recent introductions to the UK market than Estima, which has decreased in area by an estimated 400 ha this season. AHDB Potatoes Market Intelligence Analyst, Amber Cottingham said: “The packing market has seen another increase in area this season, with acreage intended for processing declining once more. This may be due to a reported increase in contracts offered in the packing market as retailers seek to reduce the financial fluctuations they encounter in meeting demand.  Continue reading

Were McDonald’s fries better before the ’90s?

In February, The Ringer website ranked McDonald’s french fries as the third-best fast food item in America. But some think that McDonald’s fries used to be much, much better. On a recent episode of his podcast Revisionist History, Malcolm Gladwell uncovered a change that McDonald’s made in its fries in 1992. Were the fries better before then? Gladwell and Joe House discussed the change on the latest episode of House of Carbs. Said Gladwell: “I remember, as I’m sure you remember, how good McDonald’s french fries were back in the day. When I was a teenager and I went to McDonald’s all the time, I went there because of the fries. And then at a certain point, the fries didn’t taste the same. They sucked. I go back there now and they’re not the fries I grew up on. And so I’ve always been curious about this. What happened?” Read the transcript of the discussion on The Ringer website – the transcript has been edited and condensed. Listen to the full podcast here

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 the 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