Australia: Turning potatoes into a convenience food

When consumers started to look for more convenient foods traditional staples such as potatoes became less popular. The pasta and rice marketers designed attractive packaging and sold the products well, while the humble potato didn’t really change at all and started to lose market share. “People began to overlook the potato and forget how versatile it really it is,” explains Susie Daly, potato producer from Daly Potatoes, Tasmania. “Schools no longer teach kids how to cook so many people don’t actually know what to do with them also these days people are busy they don’t want to stand and peel potatoes then wait for them to cook, they also want a bit of added flair.” “In addition to our gourmet potato salad rage which has been on the market for a couple of years, we have put together a range of simple potato dishes which are ready in a few minutes. They can be microwaved or heated in the oven, turning potatoes into a convenience food.” More

Food service opportunities for spuds increasing in the US

Image result for foodservice potatoAs a member of the Colorado delegation to the 2018 Potato Expo in Orlando, FL, Jim Ehrlich, executive director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee in Monte Vista, said the show provided insight into “some real opportunities in food service.” He said, “More and more people are eating out again due to the improving economy, and the Millennial consumers especially want a food experience. Eating out gives that.” In addition to restaurant dining on the rise, Ehrlich said, “There’s a changing retail landscape with the question of more online shopping coming up. It could be premature, but there are definitely a lot of opportunities for retailers to market product and also opportunities for fresh market shippers to work with retailers for online shipping.” More

US: Processing expansion impacts demand for Washington and Oregon spuds

French FriesExpansion in the processing industry will create new dynamics for Washington and Oregon potato production, the leader of Washington’s potato commission says. “We have incredible growing demand in Asia; we still have growing demand here domestically, and we’ve got to keep up with that,” said Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission. “We’ve had international customers on quotas for several years now; we just have not been able to get them enough frozen potato products overseas.” Voigt gave an update during the annual conference for farmers from both states. The commission plans to focus on school meals, Voigt said. Currently, potatoes are on the menu 2.5 times a month for breakfast and lunch. “There’s an opportunity there for real growth,” he said. The commission is also working with Potatoes USA to connect potatoes with athletes. More

Potatoes USA now largest commodity backer of national school salad bar campaign

Image result for salad bars to schoolsThis week, Potatoes USA announced the latest part of the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools campaign, which donates salad bars to school districts in need. The campaign, launched via the United Fresh Start Foundation, has found a major backer in Potatoes USA, which has become the biggest individual commodity donor to the program, donating more than 280 salad bars so far. Over the next 21 weeks, the group will donate salad bars to one school district per week – offering an opportunity to encourage more healthy eating of fruits and vegetables in schools. Potatoes USA Global Marketing Manager Rachael Lynch says that potatoes are often a key beneficiary of the salad bars. “I’ve seen operators use salad bars as creative topping bars for fresh baked potatoes, yogurt and so much more,” she said in a news releaseContinue reading

Pringles releases sukiyaki flavoured potato chips in Japan

In Japan, big international brands know how to keep their customers interested throughout the year, with exclusive limited-edition flavours and irresistible seasonal releases. Last year, Pringles decided to pay homage to Japan’s beloved fried octopus balls, with a takoyaki flavour limited for sale in the Kansai region, where the delicacy originated, and now the stackable snack chip giant is continuing with their regional releases, with a new flavour available only in the Kanto area. The Kanto-exclusive Pringles flavour is sukiyaki, a traditional Japanese hot-pot-style dish, containing slowly simmered vegetables and thinly sliced beef, which are typically dipped in a small bowl of raw egg after cooking and just before being eaten. Pringles is taking advantage of peak sukiyaki season (the winter months) by releasing their new flavour on 30 January. More

2018 Potato Expo Panelists: ‘Potato expectations critical in buy-sell relationship’

Communicating quality expectations clearly is the best way to avoid conflicts in buyer-seller relationships, according to panelists at the 2018 Potato Expo. In a fresh market track workshop called “Identifying the Source of Quality Issues in the Fresh Potato Supply Chain,”  retailers and shippers on Jan. 11 talked about how they sort out quality expectations. The session was moderated by Mac Johnson, president and CEO of Category Partners. Johnson said the common perception is that consumers are increasingly quality conscious. He asked the panel if that perception translated to retailers and growers. While price is important to customers, Jeff Heins, regional quality control manager for Walmart in Florida, said consumers also expect high quality. Steve Elfering, vice president of operations at Potandon Produce said Potandon keeps profiles on each customer and can systematically adjust packing based on their needs. Tony Trujillo, quality control manager for Farm Fresh Direct, said Farm Fresh understands the personality and needs of each receiver they ship and can adjust if needed. More

US: Dieffenbach’s Potato Chips launches ‘Its Good To Be Ugly’ campaign to reduce waste and fight hunger

Image result for uglies snacksDieffenbach’s Potato Chips Inc. announced yesterday at the Pennsylvania Farm Show the “It’s Good to be Ugly” campaign aimed at Reducing Waste and Fighting Hunger. Dieffenbach’s introduced its newest brand, Uglies® in 2017 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show. Unlike any potato chip snack available, Uglies® are made with potatoes that have slight cosmetic imperfections and may otherwise be discarded. More than just a delicious snack, Uglies® kettle-cooked potato chips offer a solution to the food-waste problem in America while partnering with farmers in the surrounding areas. According to Nevin Dieffenbach, Owner and CEO of Dieffenbach’s Potato Chips Inc, food waste in the U.S. continues to plague the nation even though approximately 15.6 million households suffered from food insecurity at sometime this past year. “Being ugly” is making an impact globally as well. This past year Uglies® also announced their partnership with VivaKids to help fight hunger around the world. More

Potatoes USA Seed Export Program underway for 2018

Image result for potatoes usaEfforts are underway to plant field trials of U.S. seed varieties in Myanmar, Morocco and Guatemala in early 2018.  Potatoes USA purchases U.S. seed potatoes from U.S. growers in multiple states to provide up to a dozen different varieties to each target market which are suitable for their warm climates and have high resistance to common potato diseases. Funding for these trials is primarily from USDA grants to promote U.S. agricultural exports to emerging markets. The first of the three shipments arrived in Myanmar in early December and will be planted during the second half of January 2018 in the main potato growing area of the Shan State.  Continue reading

Fresh Solutions Network continues to innovate

CanivalCut FrenchFriesKathleen Triou, president & chief executive officer of the Fresh Solutions Network, LLC, a dedicated marketing services organization committed to the advancement of the fresh potato, sweet potato and onion categories, which collectively is in the top 5 largest growers, packers and shippers of potatoes in the US. “Fresh Solutions Network is a group of family-owned growers and shippers who choose to work together to make the potato and onion industry better for everyone,” she said. “They are the exclusive suppliers of the Side Delights brand of fresh potatoes.” “For FSN, potato sales have been up vs. a year ago.  We have created an inspiring potato portfolio of product lines, under the Side Delights brand name, that appeal to several types of potato consumers, satisfying multiple need states; value, convenience, all-in-one side dish, gourmet, single-serve, organic, etc.,” she said. While Triou noted there is no magic pill to be successful in the industry, in her experience, she would highlight consumer insight and customer service as being the most important traits. More

US: Washington State Potato Commission bringing excitement to the industry

IMG 4365There are three primary roles the Washington State Potato Commission plays in assisting its potato growers, but according to Chris Voigt, executive director of the Moses Lake, WA-based organization, coordinating and funding potato research is the most important work it does. “We dedicate over $1 million dollars to potato research and our investment has made us the state with the highest yields and a consistent high quality,” he said. “Another important role is our promotional work with our international and domestic customers. We also invest heavily in telling the ag story to the public through our Washington Grown program. And the third role we play is being the voice for our potato community with state and federal agencies and legislators.” Brandy Tucker, marketing manager for the organization, said it recently ran a competition in the Seattle area called Spud Masters, where for a week, folks had a chance to nominate their favorite potato dish at their favorite restaurant. The campaign reached more than 33,000 people on social media. More

Promotion: Potatoes USA spotlights performance athletes on website

Image result for potatoes usa athletesA new feature has launched on the PotatoGoodness.com website, designed to spotlight athletes from around the US potato industry and share how they are fueling their performance with potatoes. The series launched with spotlight features on Christie Wood, Account Director at Sterling-Rice Group, a distance runner who just completed the NYC Marathon.  She enjoys “simply prepared potatoes (boiled, baked or mashed) as both a night-before performance food and as a recovery food with her favorite protein.” It further features Bill Skinner, Seed Potato Farmer from Belgrade, Montana, also a distance runner who recently qualified for the 2018 Boston Marathon and enjoys lightly salted boiled potatoes during his long runs. Potatoes USA welcomes suggestions from the industry for additional potato-loving athletes to feature on PotatoGoodness.com. Do you know someone that could be featured? Have them fill out the athlete Q&A and reach out to Sarah Reece, Global Marketing Manager, at sarah@potatoesusa.com

McCain UK opens its own specialty ‘Roastaurant’ in London

McCain is opening the doors to its own speciality restaurant, the Roastaurant, to celebrate the diversity of one of the nation’s favourite meals. The Roastaurant will provide roast dinner lovers the choice of over 100,000 possible roast combinations as guests choose from a pick ‘n’ mix style menu. Featuring a unique ‘gravy microbrewery’ and a giant six metre squared roast potato platter filled with thousands of McCain Roasts, the Roastaurant is set to bring the ultimate roast dinner experience to London. To accommodate all roast dinner habits, whether it’s pigeon with onion rings covered in chocolate gravy, or beef brisket accompanied with a fried egg and a side of charred pineapple, the McCain Roastaurant will be dishing up a whole host of exploratory roast combinations, no matter how quirky they may be. The Roastaurant will be split into two sittings, the Full Roast and the Roasts and Gravy. It will open its doors on Friday 8 and Sunday 10 December. Tickets can be bought online. More