US: Utz Quality Foods buys Inventure Foods

Utz Quality Foods buys Boulder Canyon owner Inventure FoodsPennsylvania-based Utz Quality Foods has agreed to acquire Inventure Foods, the owner of snack brand Boulder Canyon, for $165 million. Boulder Canyon makes a variety of bagged snacks including potato chips and popcorn, as well as a range of microwaveable ‘riced’ vegetable accompaniments. As well as the Boulder Canyon brand, Inventure owns the license to produce TGI Fridays-branded products in the US, including potato skins, party bites and onion rings. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the fourth quarter. At the end of September, Inventure completed the sale of its frozen business to Oregon potato company for $50 million. More

Cavendish Farms opens new potato storage facility in Canada

Cavendish Farms opened its new potato storage facility in New Annan, Prince Edward Island, Canada – which will mean the company can supply potatoes year round. The new facility is 88,000sqf and has a refrigerated potato storage capacity of 48 million pounds. Cavendish Farms is using the Dutch based Tolsma System, which will allow the company to maintain consistent quality potatoes all year for use at its two processing plants on the island. “This investment in our Prince Edward Island operation will allow us to ensure a quality supply of potatoes year round,” said Cavendish Farms President Robert K. Irving. “This will allow us to continue providing the best quality frozen potato products to our customers,” he added. “As Canada’s FoodIsland, our province is proud to offer high quality potatoes and frozen potato products that are enjoyed around the world,” said Prince Edward Island Premier Wade MacLauchlan. More

Swedish potato and onion sales system in German supermarkets

The Swedish system Agripo that has become the standard way of selling root vegetables in Sweden has now also been introduced in Germany. Especially the North of Germany was very interested. The system has been tested and can now be found in supermarkets such as Edeka, Real and Rewe. Agripo is a system in which separate potatoes on pallets can be sold in a simple and appealing way. This spring, Swedish Butikskonsult presented Agripo at the EuroShop in Düsseldorf with the goal to introduce the product in Germany. The reactions were positive. “The Agrpio system is the customary way of selling root vegetables in Sweden. We are of the opinion that it would be great if it would be used more and more outside of Sweden,” says Johan Särefors, Head of Export at Butikskonsult. More

Canada: Good potato yields despite challenging year for Manitoba growers

Many Manitoba potato growers faced nail-biting times this autumn as they struggled to get the crop off. In the end, however, yields are expected to be similar to last year. Dave Sawatzky, manager of Keystone Potato Producers Association, said he predicts yields will roughly be on par or slightly better than 2016’s harvest, when Manitoba potato growers brought in 348 hundredweight per acre on average. “Overall, it looks like a pretty good crop. A very challenging crop, this year, to grow — very dry summers, so irrigation was run hard,” he said. In recent years, potato yields have generally been increasing, a trend Sawatzky attributes to several factors. More

Western Australia’s potato growers told to accept $650,000 deal

Perth's 'spud king' Tony Galati. Picture: Ian MunroThe decades-long spud war in Western Australia could soon draw to a close after the Potato Growers Association advised its members to accept a $650,000 reimbursement deal from the state government. The government sent a letter to 74 potato growers in August offering to return to them more than $650,000 – comprised of $484,316 in Potato Marketing Corporation funds recovered from a legal trust and $200,000 in costs paid by Galati Nominees. The defunct industry regulator had launched civil action on behalf of growers against Perth’s “Spud King” Tony Galati in 2015, accusing him of growing more potatoes than allowed under WWII-era legislation. But the action was dropped by WA’s new Labor government after the industry was deregulated last December. More

Report: Potato processing market expected to reach $32.45 billion by 2023

According to the authors of the Global Potato Processing Market Report, this market is expected to grow from $19.74 billion in 2016 to reach $32.45 billion by 2023 with a CAGR of 7.3%. Rapid urbanization, progress in the standard of living, easy availability, consumer preferences for convenience foods and favorable packaging are the major factors propelling the market growth. In addition factors such as soaring demand for applications such as snack foods and prepared ready meals, increase in the number of retail channels such as hypermarkets and supermarkets and rapid growth of the fast food industry are driving the market growth. More

UK: GM potato trial showing positive signs of blight resistance at Sainsbury Laboratory

The Sainsbury Laboratory is trialling a genetically-modified potato designed to be resistant to blight. Pictured are Prof Jonathan Jones (front) with his team, Dr Marina Pais (centre) and Dr Kamil Witek (back). Picture: The Sainsbury Laboratory.A genetically-modified (GM) potato designed to resist late blight has worked “brilliantly” during the first year of field trials, according to Norwich scientists. The field trial conducted by The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) on the Norwich Research Park involves incorporating three blight-resistant genes from a wild potato relative into the popular commercial variety Maris Piper. After the first year of the field trial, scientists observed a marked improvement in late blight resistance, with a stark difference in health between the resistant and non-resistant plants. Prof Jonathan Jones, who is leading the project, said the initial results offered hope that there could be a way of controlling late blight without the need for chemical fungicide sprays. More

Innovative potato products presented at Anuga 2017

Potato producers exhibited a range of innovative products at Anuga 2017, this year’s largest food and beverage trade show, organized by Koelnmesse in October. As with every edition, the organizers set up a special innovation area, called “Anuga taste Innovation Show”, where products from different categories were showcased, including several potato items. The company Pafritas introduced the handmade selected and fried potatoes in olive oil. The company San Carlo presented Italian-style crisps Più Gusto – a range that brings creativity into the world of crisps. Danish company Orkla showcased crunchy, slow roasted crisps in four aromas. More

Idaho Potato Commission keeps campaigns coming

Every year, the Idaho Potato Commission, Eagle, promotes Idaho potatoes as a premium quality product and reminds shoppers to look for the “Grown in Idaho” seal every time they purchase potatoes — fresh, frozen or dehydrated. “We accomplish this through national television commercials, an impactful yearlong public relations campaign, strategic foodservice and retail programs and engaging social media posts,” said Frank Muir, president and CEO of the commission. “I’d be remiss to not include the Big Idaho Potato Truck, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, the New Year’s Eve Potato Drop and our partnership with Heather Cox, NBC sideline reporter for the NFL. These programs, sponsorships and partnerships generate tremendous publicity for the Idaho potato brand in the U.S. and abroad.” More

US fresh produce company unveils its first low-carb potato

Potandon Produce has released a new CarbSmart potato, developed with lower carbohydrate levels. Officials say the product is an example of new choices in the fresh category helping to strengthen fresh-potato sales. Potandon Produce has released a new potato variety making a counter-intuitive marketing claim for a starchy vegetable. Officials say the product is an example of new choices in the fresh category helping to strengthen fresh potato sales. The Idaho Falls-based company unveiled its first low-carbohydrate potato Oct. 19 during the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit convention in New Orleans. Potandon boasts its CarbSmart potato has 55 percent fewer carbohydrates than rice or pasta. Ralph Schwartz, the company’s vice president of sales, marketing and innovation, believes the product will continue a recent trend of convenient, colorful and innovative specialty products strengthening sales in the long-stagnant fresh potato category. “We’ve been working on it for several years,” Schwartz said, explaining this is the pilot for what could become a broader line of potatoes bred for specific health attributes. More

New Zealand: Spuds rot in wet

Spuds rot in wetSome Pukekohe potato growers are reporting up to 30% losses due to rot, says Potatoes NZ chief executive Chris Claridge. “We don’t have as many potatoes as we normally do and that is driving up prices,” he told Rural NewsSome processors and some brands are experiencing difficulties with supplies for chips, he says. He does not have the exact detail of the supply chain management behind the scenes. “We know processors in the North Island must have been affected by the wet weather,” he says. “It has been raining since March in the north. We have been getting these wet nor’easterlies, which are relatively unusual and there hasn’t been the corresponding dry weather to dry out the fields to harvest or plant. More

Fabcon expands Middle East presence through Kuwaiti deal

Fabcon - First batch fried crisps off the new Fabcon Food Systems batch frying line at Hectare’s KuwaitUK-based Fabcon Food Systems has bolstered its presence in the Middle East by supplying bespoke equipment for one of the region’s first purpose-built batch fried crisp factories. The food processing equipment manufacturer has provided the systems for a £1.5m production line in a new Kuwait factory, built and owned by the AlWazzan Foodstuff Industries Group. It is the company’s first direct sale into the Middle East market. Working closely with the Kuwaiti group’s management team, Fabcon have installed a range of their specially-designed pre-processing equipment, including frying, seasoning, distribution and supply line supporting structures. The Norwich-based specialists were chosen for the project after demonstrating their experience in potato processing and seasoning. More

Lasering text on fresh produce becoming more popular in Belgium

During the Empack 2017 in Mechelen, Belgium, the company Presa presented various packing and coding machines that can be applied in the fresh produce sector. One machine gaining popularity that’s used by a company in Overijse is the Solaris laser machine for potatoes, fruit and vegetables. Using a CO2 laser, the machine brands fresh products with a text or logo of your choice. During the fair, Sofie Vandereycken presents the starter model eMark Eco of the laser-marking system at Presa’s stand. According to her, the technique is gradually emerging in Belgium. “In the Netherlands, but internationally as well, it’s already a bit bigger,” Sofie says. “Using a CO2 laser technique, the machines can brand the peel of fruit or vegetables with a logo or text. It’s not just possible for thicker peels, such as melon or avocado.” More

India: Late showers spell good news for Bengal potato traders

A post-monsoon shower spell in West Bengal the last two days has boosted sentiments in the potato trade. As the rain delayed sowing season of tubers by 15-20 days, traders expectprices of the old stock to look up. Last year, the country harvested a bumper potato crop last year. As the second largest potato growing State, Bengal reported a 22 per cent rise in output to 110 lakh tonnes, leading to a price crash. According to Bimal Ghora, a potato trader, had the sowing season not got delayed, the trade would have ended with 5-6 lt of end-season stock. He now expects to clear the stock before the new crop starts arriving in the market beginning January. 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