New report: Consumers are moving away from old definitions of healthy potato snacks

Related imageSnacking is central to the strategy of food companies, with explosive growth in the number of new such products launched between 2010 and 2017: 125% in Europe and 47% in North America. According to a new report from New Nutrition Business, Strategies in Healthy Snacking, this also means that the healthy snacking segment is now an intensely competitive and crowded. “Companies have to work even harder to create a product that brings a real point of difference for the consumer,” says Julian Mellentin, author of the report. Commenting for potatobusiness.com on what consumers are looking for when they ask for healthy potato snacks, Mellentin says: “Consumers are moving away from old definitions of healthy such as reduced fat and reduced salt – reduced salt is of interest only to a minority of people aged 65+. Potato snacks are primarily about indulgence and pleasure and bringing health benefits mustn’t lose sight of this fact.” The report outlines 10 strategies for success in healthy snacking, illustrated with 15 case studies of healthy snacking brands in the US and Europe. More on Potatobusiness.com

Belaya Dacha Group and Lamb Weston / Meijer potato processing plant opened in Russia

Yesterday, a new potato processing plant was officially opened in Russia’s Lipetsk region, south of Moscow. This first Russian large-scale french fries production facility was built by a Joint Venture project of the Russian Belaya Dacha Group and Dutch based processor Lamb Weston / Meijer. The construction of the plant was subsidized by the Russian State Program for Agriculture Development. Local production of frozen french fries is said to be ensured and key customers can be supported in the rapidly growing Russian market. During the opening, the Minister highlighted the importance of this production facility, as it is another step towards meeting the Russian food demand through local production. The total investment amounted to 115 million Euros. By the end of 2019, the plant is expected to reach full capacity and process approximately 200 thousand tons of potatoes per year. More

McDonald’s Russia turns to local fries from new processing plant, citing Western sanction woes

Related imageFrench fries at McDonald’s restaurants from Moscow to Murmansk will be Russian from now on, as the American fast-food chain turns to homegrown potatoes to deal with ruble volatility caused by fluctuating oil prices and Western sanctions. McDonald’s Corp, which opened in Russia in 1990 as the Soviet Union collapsed, has been gradually turning to local ingredients in its Russian outlets for everything from Big Macs to chicken burgers since it opened its doors there. But till now it had relied on frozen French fries from the Netherlands and Poland as Russian spuds weren’t quite right. Now a new plant near Lipetsk, a city 450 km (280 miles) south of Moscow, using potatoes grown on local farms will supply frozen fries to the chain of 651 outlets across Russia under a long-term contract, raising the share of the chain’s locally sourced products to 98 per cent. Globe and Mail report. Reuters report

Frito-Lay subsidiary in Egypt launches important programme for local potato seed production

Image result for chipsy egyptChipsy for Food Industries in Egypt, a subsidiary of Pepsico (Frito-Lay) announced a significant new programme for the local production of potato seed. “This comes as a result of Chipsy’s long journey of conducting scientific research and field trials, which saw it being rewarded for its use of innovative and state of the art technologies,” the company said in a press release. Through this programme, Chipsy will be able to provide locally cultivated seeds to the Egyptian market. In 2017, the project helped the company to provide 70% of its seeds from local sources, and thanks to this programme, 100% of Chipsy’s potatoes are now locally sourced. Tamer Mosalam, general manager at Chipsy Egypt, stated, “we are very proud of launching this programme, as it will strongly affect the overall Egyptian agricultural sector, the consumer, and definitely the economy.” More

Mixed results for US potato exports, but strong growth in frozen sector

Related imageU.S. exports of fresh potatoes were down 7 percent by volume but up 27 percent by value to $13.6 million in February 2018 compared to 2017. The volume of exports of fresh potatoes (table-stock and chip-stock) were caused by the 33 percent decline to the largest market, Canada. Despite the higher prices, exports of fresh potatoes to Mexico were up 34 percent while Japan (chip-stock) grew by 17 percent and Taiwan was up 95 percent. Frozen potatoes saw strong growth with volume up 6 percent and the value up 6 percent as well, to over $90 million. Exports of dehydrated potatoes were off 12 percent by volume and 6 percent by value for a monthly total of just under $14 million. The increase in frozen exports was driven by 20 percent volume increase to Mexico, 38 percent increase to Central America, 64 percent increase to Taiwan and a 23 percent increase to the Philippines. More

Lamb Weston raised its annual outlook for 2018 sales growth

Related imageLamb Weston Holdings, Inc. announced its third quarter 2018 results and updated its outlook for fiscal 2018 in a public press release issued last week. The company says net sales increased 12% to $863 million during third quarter 2018, while income from operations increased 17% to $169 million; and Adjusted Income from Operations increased 14% to $171 million. Net sales is expected to increase at upper end of mid-single digits range in fiscal 2018, up from a previous estimate of mid-single digits. “Our strong top- and bottom-line performance in the third quarter reflects the benefits of our capital expansion investments, our focus on delivering industry-leading customer service and our commitment to operational excellence,” said Tom Werner, President and CEO.  Continue reading

Irish-made Keogh’s Crisps secure major contract with the largest international airline in the world

Derek, Tom and Ross Keogh at the launch of Keogh's crisps on Keogh's Farm, Oldtown. BELOW: Brothers,Keogh’s Crisps of North Dublin has secured a major contract with Emirates, the largest international airline in the world, which will see an estimated one million bags being served onboard annually. The premium Irish brand will be available to First Class passengers only and was selected by the Emirates  Group following a blind tasting of 15 different brands, of which Keogh’s came out top. The Irish-made crisps will be served onboard Emirates flights as part of the airline’s First Class Hot Sandwiches and Snacks service and as an accompaniment to drinks. The announcement was made today at Marketplace International, Bord Bia’s annual food buyer event in Dublin, where the two brands were first introduced in 2016. More

Peru: Missed opportunities for native potatoes

Image result for Peru: Missed opportunities for native potatoesTruth is that there are many Peruvian products with a huge potential that are being wasted due to a lack of organization. Agroindustrial engineer Ronald Rimari Barzola, a consultant in frozen agricultural exports who has a special interest in the development of the Peruvian native potato industry, recently spoke about such an opportunity. Some weeks ago, during a conference about agricultural development, he recalled that there was a processing plant for native potatoes in the district of Chilca that had managed to export more than half a million dollars of native potatoes between 2015 and 2016. At the beginning of this year, he said, the processing plant had a great opportunity, which unfortunately they had to let go. Rimari considers that, if producers worked together, there could be the possibility of carrying out a commercial project of this magnitude. More

Acrylamide reduction: EU food industry prepares for legislation

Image result for potato crispsManufacturers in the European Union (EU) are preparing for new legislation that will regulate the amount of acrylamide in their products for the first time. The regulations, passed by the EU last year, will restrict the amount of acrylamide permissible in packaged foods and will force manufacturers to actively reduce the amount of acrylamide in their final products when it becomes law tomorrow. The EU has established ‘benchmark’ levels of acrylamide for various food products, ranging from 350 micrograms (μg) of acrylamide per kilogram for biscuits and cookies to 750μg per kilogram for potato crisps. Fried potato products like fries, potato chips and hash browns have been found to contain the most acrylamide while toasted bread can have up to ten times as much acrylamide as untoasted bread. More

Growing importance of Ireland for UK processed potato trade

Related imageAccording to a report by Daniel Rooney, AHDB Analyst, UK potato trade saw strong performance from its processed potato sectors in the first seven months of the 2017/18 marketing season. Trade of frozen potato goods, by far the largest imported potato commodity, has seen strong growth both leaving and entering the UK, although imports still outweigh exports by ten-fold. The UK remains a net exporter of crisps, with exports continuing to grow. Exports of crisps increased by 12% between July and January this year compared to the same period last season. This was largely driven by increased demand from Ireland who imported 9.3Kt in the first seven months of the 2017/18 season, an increase of 23% on the year. Crisps exported to Ireland have seen strong growth over the past five years, increasing by 70% since the 2013/14 season. Although exports of frozen chips is a relatively small market compared to imports, Ireland remains the primary destination and increased its demand by 28% since 2013/14. More

Lamb Weston announces new Vice President and General Manager, Foodservice and Retail

Related imageLamb Weston announced today that Mike Smith, Senior Vice President, Growth & Strategy, will assume leadership of its Foodservice and Retail Business Units. Smith will lead the two business units, which sell fries and other potato products to foodservice distributors and restaurant operators and the company’s retail line of products including Alexia®, Grown in Idaho®, licensed brands, and private label items to grocers and other retailers. Smith has been with Lamb Weston for more than 10 years. His current responsibilities as Senior Vice President of Growth and Strategy, as well as his previous role leading the Retail Business Unit as vice president and general manager, will enable a seamless transition of the Foodservice and Retail businesses. In his new role, Smith succeeds Rod Hepponstall, who is leaving the company to become CEO of a publicly-traded food company outside of the potato category. More

Dutch company Farm Frites to build $165m potato processing facility in Kazakhstan

Related imageIt is reported from Kazakhstan that Dutch based Farm Frites will open a potato processing facility in the Almaty region of the country in 2019. Kazakhstan’s investment promotion company Kazakh Invest is said to have organized a number of meetings between managers of the Dutch company Farm Frites, Simon Quist and Jos den Boer, and highly placed authorities in Kazakhstan, including the Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture, Umirzak Shukeyev, according to the official website of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan. During the past year, Farm Frites reportely conducted several potato variety trials in the country in order to find suitable processing varieties. Construction of the factory is scheduled for April 2019. The total cost of the project is $165 million with a capacity of processing 70 thousand tons of potatoes per year. Report

Smart software: Key Technology introduces VERYX® with Sort-to-Grade™ software for potato strips

VERYX equipped with Sort-to-Grade softwareKey Technology, a member of the Duravant family of operating companies, introduces VERYX® digital sorters equipped with their patented Sort-to-Grade™ (STG) software for both wet and frozen potato strips. While VERYX targets all foreign material for removal, the sortware recognizes and categorizes every surface defect and the dimensional characteristics of every individual strip and makes each accept/reject decision based on how it will impact the aggregate ‘in the bag’ grade as defined by the processor. By controlling the output for defect types that must be managed to a particular grade or “spec,” VERYX with STG accurately maintains the most complex final product specifications without operator intervention while increasing yields by one to three percent and enabling processors to eliminate mechanical length grading.  Continue reading

British potato processing company making food safety a priority

Lyons: Since the recall, food safety is now ‘the priority in decision making’The potato processing firm at the centre of a major product recall in Britain in 2015 has “radically changed its thinking” and now makes food safety “the priority in all of its decision-making”, according to the man appointed to oversee its transformation. Swancote Foods, which was found to be the source of a metal contamination scare that led to the recall of several own-label ready meals and vegetable dishes, has since undergone both a cultural and operational transformation, business unit director John Lyons told Food Manufacture. Lyons took on the top job at Telford-based Swancote in June 2016. Since taking over, the company has overhauled its preventative maintenance programme and invested in inspection systems including two X-ray machines. The May 2015 recall which affected products sold in Tesco and Sainsbury, among others cost Swancote, according to its owner Produce Investments. The fabrication issues, which were the immediate cause, were dealt with immediately. “But since I arrived, we’ve done an awful lot of work on addressing the underlying causes,” Lyons explained. More

New York City retailers claim they’re experiencing Frito-Lay shortage

Due to pay cuts for delivery drivers, New York City is experiencing a Frito-Lay shortage. New York City is reportedly experiencing a massive Frito-Lay shortage after the company cut pay to delivery drivers, prompting many to quit, but the company claims all its snacks are being delivered as scheduled. Last year, Frito-Lay, which is owned by PepsiCo, began decreasing drivers’ pay by as much as 33 percent, according to the New York Post. This change meant many employees would lose $30,000 a year. The change came as part of a more salary-driven structure, which nearly eliminated commission opportunities. While drivers in other regions may have benefited from the pay adjustment, the Post reports this isn’t the case in New York. Add that to the fact that the company is already facing a national truck driver shortage and the result is many stores across the city left without Doritos, Cheetos, Lays, Ruffles and other products produced by Frito-Lay. More