Skin deep is great: The underrated nutritional value of potato skins

Potatoes are filling, delicious, and an incredibly diverse ingredient, which has made them a staple in plant-based diets. This is mainly due to the symbiotic and highly nutritious relationship between the potato meat, or ‘flesh’, and the potato skin. Potatoes are filling and versatile and the flesh offers a wide range of vitamins and minerals, as well as healthy carbs. Yet, potato skins are completely underrated. These rough and unattractive protective wraps offer about half of the nutritional value of the whole potato. When it comes to the nutrition facts, what the meat lacks the skin provides and vice versa, including essential nutrients such as fiber, iron, and vitamin C and B-6. Yet, the skin outranks the meat in some important categories. With that said, let’s break it down to numbers… Read more

Next best thing after mother’s milk: Potato based infant formula

Nestle patents infant formula based on potato protein microparticlesNestle has applied for a patent for an infant formula based on potato protein microparticles. The company presents it as a naturally hypoallergenic infant formula that is suitable for infants with cow’s milk protein allergy. The Nestle patent describes an infant formula based on potato protein, which is naturally absent in the major allergens found in milk and soy. Accordingly, the described product may provide a naturally hypoallergenic infant formula that is suitable for infants with cow’s milk protein allergy. The use of potato protein in an infant formula is advantageous as it has a well balanced amino acid profile, which is closer to that of human milk than rice or soy protein. Accordingly, less addition of free amino acids is required to provide a composition with the required nutritional profile, which renders the resulting product more cost effective and gives it a more palatable taste. 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

McCain NZ pilot programme puts the power into potatoes

Image result for Pilot programme in Timaru puts the power into potatoesThe humble potato is in for a shocking multi-million dollar makeover in New Zealand. An industry pilot programme worth almost $16.8 million, is being trialled at McCain Foods in Washdyke, Timaru, in what has been described as “electrocuting potatoes“. The three month test of the new Pulsed Electric Field Technology (PEF) machine, from Germany, began in Timaru on Wednesday and involves industrial-scale food processing of the popular french fry. The machine uses a brief electric pulse to modify and disrupt the membranes of cells in plant or animal material. The aim is to produce healthier fries as the potatoes absorb less oil during the cooking process after having the PEF treatment. The electric field being pulsed through uncut potatoes during processing alters their microstructure, which results in a more controlled release of sugar, more uniform coloration and reduced oil uptake. Read more

Mancozeb ruling: Good news for Canadian potato growers

On June 21, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) announced that the fungicide mancozeb will no longer be allowed in horticultural crops except for foliar use in potatoes.  A maximum of 10 applications per year will be allowed on potatoes with seven-day application intervals. That’s a relief for potato growers protecting their crops from late blight, but little solace for many growers of tomatoes right through to tender fruit.  “This is a perplexing ruling,” says Craig Hunter, crop protection advisor, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association.  “If the product is safe for potatoes and poses no risks to human health or the environment as the PMRA says, then it should be a level playing field for all horticultural crops.” The issue, as Hunter sees it, is that both the United States and the European Union have re-evaluated and approved the use of mancozeb. “The logic for banning most uses of mancozeb in Canada is not clear or supported by scientific evidence,” says Hunter. “It is especially puzzling when more than 400,000 acres of potatoes can get up to 10 applications (>4 million acres) and all the onion seed needed for Canada cannot be treated with less than 10 kg total!” Read more

Low-carb gold: ‘Lotatoes Potatoes’ campaign the winner of PMA Australia-New Zealand award

Related imageProduce Plus and PMA Australia-New Zealand are pleased to announce the T&G Global Marketing Team as the winner of the Marketer of the Year Award 2018 for the ‘Lotatoes Potatoes’ campaign. The New Zealand-headquartered company was presented with Australasia’s premier marketing award for the fresh fruit, vegetable and floral industries at the Hort Connections conference and trade show in Brisbane. The presentation took place during the event’s Gala Dinner on Wednesday, 20 June. The Lotatoes Potatoes campaign centred around the launch of a new low-carb and low-calorie potato variety. Having observed a consumer trend moving away from high-carbohydrate options among health-conscious consumers in New Zealand, T&G Global specifically sought the low-carb potato variety from its breeding partners. Extensive testing against two of New Zealand’s most common varieties (Rua and Agria) found Lotatoes to be a unique 40 per cent lower carbohydrate product that met the functional and health needs of its target audience. Read more

Hot potato fries: A different kind of brain food

Related imageA team of international scientists appear to have discovered why hot potato fries/chips are so tasty. Simply put, the brain gets ‘hijacked’ by the combination of high-fat and high-carbohydrates – making hot chips and similar food highly attractive. Scientists from Yale University wired 206 people up to brain scanners, and then showed them images of fatty, carby and so-called ‘combo’ snacks like hot fries – which are high in both carbs and fat. Every time an image of a combo snack came on the screen, the reward centres in the subjects’ brains lit up – regardless of whether they said they liked it or not. The research paper was published in the journal Cell Metabolism and re-posted by Scimex. In essence the scientists found that foods high in both fat AND carbohydrates trigger the reward centre of the brain, more so than other processed foods that may just contain one or the other.  Continue reading

King of the vegetable tribe in the US: The Spud. Of course…

According to the USDA/ERS (Economicc Research Service) food availability data, Americans consumed an average of just over 156 pounds of fresh and processed vegetables per person in 2015. The loss-adjusted food availability data series takes per capita supplies of food available for human consumption and adjusts for some of the spoilage, plate waste, and other losses in restaurants, grocery stores, and the home to more closely approximate consumption. Potatoes claimed the #1 spot at nearly a third of the total – just more than 48 pounds per person. This includes both fresh potatoes and processed products (frozen, canned, and dehydrated potatoes and potato chips and shoestrings). Canned tomatoes are the leading canned vegetable, and total tomato consumption—fresh and canned—came in second at about 28 pounds per person. Fresh and dehydrated onions came in at a sad 7.7 pounds per person in 2015, with carrots, sweet corn, and romaine and leaf lettuce lagging behind to finish the list of America’s top seven vegetable choices. A chart was published in ERS’s Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials data product. High resolution chart. [Said someone at the water cooler: “Told ‘ya so…” – Editor, PNT]

Rather safe than sorry: Aussies to release Potato Growers’ Biosecurity Manual

The Potato Growers’ Biosecurity Manual is a guide to farm biosecurity measures to reduce the risk of weeds, pests, and diseases impacting production. It was developed by Plant Health Australia (PHA) with consultation from AUSVEG and potato growers across NSW, Victoria and South Australia. The manual is designed for use by potato growers and their staff, as well as contractors, processors, researchers, and consultants working in the potato industry. It gives specific advice on what potato producers need to be aware of, and what measures they should be taking on their farm to reduce biosecurity risks. A broader explanation of Australia’s biosecurity system including pre-border, at-the-border and post-border biosecurity procedures is also provided in the manual. The manual will be released with the upcoming edition of Potatoes Australia magazine. Further information


Media nonsense exposed: AHDB Potatoes busting myths on potatoes and health in mainstream media

Related imageAHDB Potatoes in the UK recently produced a document outlining the truth on the nutritional benefits of the potato. The aim was to ‘cut through the noise’ and ‘bust the myths’ on potatoes and health that appear in the mainstream media. Everything in the document is scientifcally proven, by sources such as nutrition bible McCance and Widdowson’s the Composition of Foods​, and Public Health England. AHDB Potatoes also created a bank of Twitter and Facebook graphics. Download the guide and graphics here, and promote the potato using statements approved by the EU, and Public Health England. Despite the simple truth about the health benefits of potatoes, consumers often feel confused about nutrition based on conflicting messages in the mainstream media. Much of this stems from the practice of taking isolated facts, out of context, to produce an attention grabbing headline. In June 2018, AHDB Potatoes made a statement on behalf of the industry, after a  misleading article in the Daily Mail. Read the full statement here. Confusion, when it comes to potatoes, often arises over the treatment of carbohydrates. An extract from the June 2018 statement addresses this… Read more

A matter of trust: US potato industry supports national standard for accurate product labeling

Related imageThe National Potato Council (NPC) in the US joined more than 60 organizations, representing farmers, manufacturers, small businesses and retailers in supporting the Accurate Labels Act, introduced today. “The potato industry strongly supports this common-sense legislation. Consumers should be provided with information they can trust about the products they purchase. Verifiable science based information should be the foundation of these disclosures,” said John Keeling, Executive VP and CEO of the NPC. The legislation will amend the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act to ensure consumers have access to clear, accurate and meaningful product labels; establish science-based criteria for all state and local labeling requirements that exceed current federal standards. Continue reading

Peru’s native potato varieties offer solution to malnourishment and anemia, researchers say

Image result for native peruvian potatoLargely unknown outside of the Andes, the region’s many multi-colored native potato species may aid in preventing malnourishment and cancer, Peruvian researchers told EFE on Wednesday. At their facility in Zurite, in the Andean region of Cuzco, scientists with Peru’s National Institute for Agrarian Innovation (INIA) are doing research on the myriad native potato varieties growing on mountainside terraces built by ancient Peruvian civilizations some 3,400 meters (11,200 feet) above sea level. Their goal is to study the characteristics and benefits of each of the many potato varieties cultivated by the ancient Incas and classify them, as well as to develop new varieties that can be grown on a larger scale. INIA has obtained as many as 26 new potato varieties that possess the characteristics of their native counterparts, including resilience to climate change – due to their high phenol content – and a more appealing shape and size, as well as their “high amounts of calories and proteins.”  Continue reading

Elevated: How potatoes went from mountaintops to the moon

Chuños, naturally freeze-dried potatoesThe process of freeze drying is easily associated with the space age, thanks to its use in making astronaut food, but it’s older than you might think. The first known use of it dates back to the Incas, who were able to naturally freeze dry their food on mountaintops thanks to cold temperatures and thin air. Potatoes were stomped daily to get the moisture out, and sublimation took care of the rest, making for lighter, more lasting food called chuños (which is still made today). This process allowed Incas to store up food for droughts, and Spaniards to try “fresh” potatoes in Europe. Though freeze drying isn’t as widely used today, NASA has managed to take the process to greater heights than even the Incas by using the technique for astronaut food. That’s because freeze-drying preserves the structure of food, as well as its vitamins and minerals. It may not be exactly the same as a fresh potato, but as anyone who’s sampled astronaut ice cream can attest to, it still tastes pretty good. Read more

Misplaced blame: In defense of the potato and other starchy vegetables

Potatoes have a bad reputation in our carb-fearing world, but that’s unnecessary, says Central Texas Food Bank dietitian Mary Agnew. Carbohydrates (which of course is found in potatoes) often get blamed for weight gain, she writes. But most people have a fairly vague understanding of the different types of carbohydrates, she writes. Agnew reviews the facts related to carbohydrates, saying that complex carbohydrates, which are found in potatoes, are starch or dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is not like other carbohydrates. Dietary fiber, does, however, aid the movement of food through our bodies. Starches, on the other hand, are excellent sources of energy. Complex carbohydrates have anywhere from three to a billion units of sugars, and your body takes longer to digest them than it takes to digest simple carbohydrates. As a result, digesting complex carbohydrates releases glucose into your bloodstream more slowly and evenly than digesting simple carbs. The bottom line of it all, Agnew asks? Starchy vegetables such as potatoes don’t have to be off-limits, even for people with diabetes… Read the full article

Avebe: Challenges and opportunities of ‘all natural’ and ‘clean label’ trends for food manufacturers

The food industry is facing a rapid increase in demand for “all natural” food. Consumers increasingly ask for “clean label” food. Food manufacturers respond by changing ingredient names, changing ingredients altogether, looking for alternatives to satisfy the consumer. But the all natural trend offers not just challenges; for the observant food manufacturer, there are also plenty of opportunities. Within the food industry, clean label is a relatively well-known concept. But it is hard to translate to consumers, because most of them do not use the term clean label in the same way producers do. They tend to put clean label on par with “natural”, which means produced with conventional agriculture, and/or being minimally processed – which includes not using processes the consumer finds unfamiliar – to being GMO-free. All in all, clean label seems to have become a blanket term for “anything that seems healthy and safe”.  Read full article on the Avebe website