British chips to become much shorter

Image result for british fish and chipsBritons will be served up shorter chips this year as potato farmers across Europe struggle to cope with the worst summer drought for decades. Britain eats 1.75 million tonnes of frozen chips every year and is, alongside the US, the world’s largest importer of the product. Almost all frozen fry imports to Britain, about 750,000 tonnes, come from the Netherlands and Belgium. The hot weather and lack of rain has hit European crop yields, resulting in a drop of about 20% in Northern Europe, and made the potatoes, usually the size of a small brick, smaller. That will mean smaller, shorter chips, potato experts in Britain and Belgium have warned. “This was the hottest British summer since 1976, which any potato person will tell you was an almost mythical year,” said Cedric Porter, editor of World Potato Markets, “it is still talked about in potato circles. The chips are down,” he said, “You can expect smaller chips in Britain and in Europe.” Read more

Blame the European heat wave for pricier fish and chips

Image result for fish and chipsThe record-breaking heatwave and lack of rain across Europe has hurt potato crops, with prices tripling in the U.K. in August from a year earlier. That’s forced fish and chip shops to charge more for a portion of fries that form one half of the traditional British staple. Further price hikes loom, said Andrew Crook, president of the federation representing more than 10,000 fish and chip shops across the UK. “It’s going to be a disaster for us this year,” said Crook. “I’ve never seen prices of potatoes be that high at this time of the year. We are getting squeezed.” With Europe accounting for eight of the 10 biggest potato eating nations, there’s likely to be fierce competition for the starchy tubers this season. “We will be fighting for potatoes with Europe,” said Crook, the president of the National Federation of Fish Friers. “There are not enough potatoes to go around, and everything is quite small.” Read more

Europe: French fries feel the pinch as hot summer frazzles potato market

file6ucrflv77s7cmsp8kic.jpgWhether you call them chips, frites or French fries, it’s shaping up to be a bad year for potato lovers. The record-breaking heatwave and lack of rain across Europe has hurt potato crops, with prices tripling in the UK in August from a year earlier. That’s forced fish and chip shops to charge more for a portion of fries that form one half of the traditional British staple. Further price hikes loom, said Andrew Crook, president of the federation representing more than 10,000 fish and chip shops across the country. “It’s going to be a disaster for us this year,” said Crook, who started helping in the family chippy at the age of nine. “I’ve never seen prices of potatoes be that high at this time of the year. We are getting squeezed.” In the UK, a metric ton of fresh potatoes surged to 300 pounds (S$536.32) last month, the third-highest on records going back to the 1950s. Read more

Heatwave plays havoc on size and variety of potato chips across Europe

The poor potato harvest predicted could place pressure on potato chip producers. Pic: ©GettyImages/EvkazSnack, confectionery and potato producer associations have warned that British and European consumers can expect smaller potato chips this year. The European Snacks Association (ESA) has been tracking the issue throughout the summer, according to The various national statements [from associations like PPA, BDSI and many others] paint a clear picture that volumes in 2018 are expected to be significantly lower than average, and it is extremely likely that there will be serious issues in terms of quality and availability of potato varieties that are suitable for processing, and also for long-term storage, meaning that this is probably not a short-term issue. Commenting on how it could affect potato chip producers, Andrew Curtis of the Potato Processors Association (PPA) noted that most European processed potatoes are grown on a contract basis, meaning prices are agreed with the farmers in advance of the season. Read the full article on

Potato starch company warns of ‘dramatic’ cost increases

Image result for potato starch emslandThe European potato harvest will be at a historically low level this year and present a massive challenge for growers, processors and their customers. Due to the crop failures in potato fields, some of which were total failures, the availability of potato products will be significantly reduced. According to the Raw Materials Procurement Department of the Emsland Group, potato fields of the contract farmers of the group are in dire conditions. Europe is experiencing what farmers are calling the “worst drought in recent history” – which could create food shortages and financial troubles for Europeans. The commodity exchanges for potatoes have been reacting massively to this drought for quite some time. At the same time, some growers of seed potatoes are already raising their prices for 2019. Patrick Geers, Marketing Associate for Emsland, says “the cost increase will be dramatic and for the next season we expect further prices on higher levels, maybe not as extreme as this year but significantly over last year’s level.” Read more

Crop failures in Germany to impact crisp market

The heat wave in Germany also affects the harvest of potato varieties needed to make potato crisps. Due to the extreme climatic situation this summer, there is the threat of up to 30 percent crop failures in the country. Furthermore, the expected smaller tuber sizes will mean that more potatoes are needed to produce a single bag of potato crisps than in years with an average harvest. There is no protection against this. However, the exact extent of the situation will not be clear until the harvest is completed in the fall. It is already certain that crisp manufacturers will come under pressure during a tight harvest this year. The Federal Association of the German Confectionery Industry e.V. (BDSI) is joining other in appeals for fairness to all parties involved, said Federal Minister Julia Klöckner during a press conference on the federal-state aid program for farmers on 22 August 2018. Read more

The story and pride behind Lay’s potato chips

PHOTO: A display of PepsiCo Frito-Lay potato chip snacks in a supermarket in New York, Feb. 12, 2015. It’s an American-made classic by an American inventor that has become a summertime staple for any barbecue table: Lay’s potato chips. H.W. Lay was a traveling salesman during the Great Depression when he started peddling chips out of the back of his Model A in 1931. It was how he made a living across the Southeast, said Chris Quinn, senior vice president of sales at Frito-Lay. “He believed in giving the most affordable prices and the highest quality products at an arm’s reach of every consumer,” Quinn said. Around the same time, C.E. Doolin was buying the recipe for another American classic: Frito corn chips. Doolin started making them out of his mother’s kitchen. Nearly three decades later, the two of them joined forces to create Frito-Lay. It was 1961. Now, years later, in 2018,the potatoes still come from farmers across America. Quinn said Frito-Lay sourced from 120 different farms in 25 states including Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Washington, Maine and California. Read more

McCain to hike prices as Britain’s potato product prices set to soar

The price of chips, crisps and other potato products is set to soar due to scorching temperatures in recent months that have damaged crops. Frozen chip maker McCain is understood to be hiking the price paid by supermarkets as much as 20 per cent as farmers struggle with major potato shortages following a two-month heatwave. Family favourites such as Walkers Crisps and potato waffle maker Birds Eye are also thought to mulling price increases. With production down, frozen potato supplier McCain’s will reportedly increase prices by 20% at the start of September in anticipation of the supply fall. And while this subsector has recently undercut total food inflation, other suppliers will likely follow suit. So the major grocers will face tough decisions should supplier prices rise. ‘Personally, I think the price rise from McCain is two months premature since volumes won’t be significantly affected until November,’ a source told Fresh Produce Journal. Read more

Key Technology celebrates 70 years of innovation

Key Technology, a member of the Duravant family of operating companies, is celebrating their 70th anniversary. “In an era marked by rapid technological change, Key’s strategy has remained remarkably consistent over our 70-year history. We attract exceptionally talented people, inspire teamwork and create close collaborative partnerships with our customers to identify and solve their unique production challenges,” said Jack Ehren, President of Key Technology. The company was founded in 1948 as Key Equipment Company by brothers Claude and Lloyd Key and eight other investors focused on eliminating tedious, inefficient manual chores in food processing. Since then, Key has continued to transform the food processing industry.  Continue reading

McCain Foods appoints new President of Canadian division

McCain Foods Limited appoints new President of Canadian divisionMcCain Foods announces the appointment of Danielle Barran to country president, McCain Foods (Canada), a division of McCain Foods Limited. Ms Barran assumed full responsibility for the Canadian commercial business, effective August 20, 2018. Reporting to Jeff DeLapp, President, North America, Ms Barran will lead McCain Foods Canada’s next stage of strategic development. “We are pleased to welcome Danielle to McCain. She will be a tremendous asset to both our Canadian business and our North American senior leadership team,” said Jeff DeLapp. “Under Danielle’s leadership, the Canadian team will continue to foster strong customer relationships and drive innovation, further enabling the leadership position of the company and our commitment to bringing joy to families across Canada.”  Continue reading

Dutch and Belgian potato representatives meet to discuss current situation in the potato sector

The extreme weather conditions of recent months caused a commotion in the potato sector in Europe. Many growers suffered damages, resulting in lower yields this year. In various media outlets, the re-negotiation of contracts between growers and the processing industry has recently been mentioned frequently. This is why parties from both the Dutch and Belgian potato sectors came together to discuss this and to voice their worries. “VAVI has been in contact with LTO to discuss the situation on the potato market more than once, but this time we met physically. However, the discussion was blown out of proportion by the media,” says Hylke Brunt of the VAVI in the Netherlands. LTO wants to renegotiate contracts between growers and the processing industry to compensate for costs of irrigation, for example. In Belgium, the organization Belgapom met with Agrofront and three Belgian agricultural organisations.  Continue reading

Trade dispute: China retaliates with tariffs on fries and dehy

Image result for national potato councilThe escalating trade war between the U.S. and China increased further as both sides recently announced new multi-billion tariffs on a host of goods. As expected, China included U.S. fries and dehy on their announced retaliation list. The new tariffs are 10% on fries and 25% on dehy. “We’re monitoring this situation in coordination with U.S. trade officials. Our message to all parties has not changed. They need to settle these issues at the negotiating table urgently, as the negative economic impacts of these tariffs will only increase over time,” said John Keeling, NPC CEO. The implementation date for these tariffs is currently unknown and contingent upon the U.S. taking firm action following the announcement of increased tariffs against Chinese exports. (Source: Potato Bytes / National Potato Council)

New Zealanders take a closer look at ‘the good oil on fish and chips’

Seafood Bazaar manager Petrina Taua-Hunt says the Hamilton business prides itself on serving top quality fish and chips.While other countries regulate fryer fat use, experts in New Zealand say degraded oils at its favourite chippies is concerning. The key to producing good fish and chips is to use top-quality oil, filter the frying vats each day, regularly change the oil, and cook oils at the right temperature. But industry experts say not all fast food operators are making the health grade, and neighbourhood chippies are some of the worst offenders. Chemist Dr Laurence Eyres, a specialist in oils and fats, says the prevalence of fast food outlets using old degraded oils is concerning. “How often have you been in a fish and chip shop and it makes your eyes water because they are using the cooking fat well past its shelf life? It’s these oils that can have high levels of nasty compounds and which can be bad for you.”  Continue reading

Fry quibble: France and Belgium lock horns (again) over who invented ‘French’ fries

Image result for France and Belgium lock horns over who invented 'French' friesProud Belgians have hit back after a leading French newspaper claimed that frites – the world-famous chips served with Belgium’s national dish of mussels – were invented in France. Le Figaro printed the story under the headline “No, French fries are not Belgian” last Wednesday, which was particularly provocative because August 1 is also the International Day of the Belgian Frites. Historian Pierre Leclercq insisted that modern day frites was first served on the streets of Paris to theatre-goers in the revolutionary era. Legend has it that American soldiers serving in World War One incorrectly named Belgian frites “French fries” and the name stuck. According to Bernard Lefèvre, president of Navefri-Unafri, the national association for frietkoten: “If frites would have been French, which they are not, there would be an international museum of frites in Paris, which there is not.” “As far as we’re concerned, “fries” are undeniably Belgian!,” said Andrew Daines of  Belgian tourist group VisitFlanders. Read more

Research report: Promising outlook for global potato chips market

The Global Potato Chips Market reached 26.5bn Euros by the end of 2017, with an average annual volume percent growth of 5.9% over the 2012-2017 period. According to Alan Deane, founding partner of research company Food for Thought (FFT): “At the top end of the market on a per capita basis in 2017, Ireland leads at 4.4 kgs per capita, followed by the United Kingdom (3.5) and Canada (3.4). This then drops rapidly for Spain (2) and the USA (2.32). This last surprisingly low figure in the USA owes much to alternative snacks such as popcorn and corn-based tortilla chips. The following 10 countries are in the 1 to 2 kg/capita range.”  Continue reading