Why is Bob Dylan’s face now on Chinese potato crisp bags?

News spreads fast on the Internet, and word about what appears to be Chinese potato crisp packets sporting Bob Dylan’s face could not have spread faster. Many denizens of the Internet were as confused as one would be when taking in this bizarre combination – there are eight different bag variants available, each containing what people presumed were different flavours of crisps themed around Dylan’s most famous works. But the answers were not found blowin’ in the wind (excuse the pun); they were readily available for those who dug deep enough. It turns out that the potato crisp bags do not actually house real, Frito-Lay-type goodness, but books. That’s right – there are books in those potato crisp bags. This is where the pieces of the puzzle all fall together. The potato crisp bags are actually a clever, albeit very strange marketing campaign for eight new volumes of Bob Dylan’s lyrics, which have now been translated into Mandarin. More

Dutch-Tanzanian Potato Centre of Excellence opened during Agribusiness Day

A Dutch-Tanzanian Potato Centre of Excellence, was launched at the ‘Tanzania Agribusiness day’. This event was held on Wednesday, 31 May, and centred primarily around potatoes. The Center for Development of the Potato Industry in Tanzania was launched that morning. It is a project in which the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Dutch business owners in the potato sector will jointly set up the Centre of Excellence in Tanzania. The Dutch government has invested almost EUR 4 million in the centre. The centre will stimulate the value chain of potatoes in Tanzania. This will be done by introducing new techniques and seedlings at a demo-farm. Jan Willem Sepers of Europlant was one of the signatories. More

Canada: Quebec eyes seed potato export to Latin America and Caribbean

Over the past few decades the Canadian Provinces Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Alberta have exported a considerable amount of seed potatoes from Canada to Latin America and the Caribbean, but this has decreased substantially. More recently, a couple of seed potato companies from Quebec, together with the Centre de Recherche Les Buissons (CRLB) have started an initiative to export high quality seed potatoes to Latin America and the Caribbean. Progest 2001 Inc, a private research and development agricultural company based in Sainte Croix, Quebec has been given the mandate to promote Quebec’s seed potatoes in Latin America and the Caribbean. More

US: Alsum Farms and Produce launches ‘Powered by Potatoes’ contest

T and G announce new low carb potatoes for New Zealand

T&G has announced the launch of their new Lotatoes, which is their low carb potato they hope will capture the interest of health conscious consumers. “Grown sustainably and naturally bred on rolling farms in Pukekohe and Ohakune, Lotatoes have been bred using different varieties of potato. Lotatoes have 40% less carbs and less calories than other commonly available potato varieties (Rua and Agria) and have lower carbs and calories. More

US potato exports reach record levels in 2016

For calendar year 2016 total U.S. potato exports were up 4% to $1,726,920,330 – the highest ever value.  The volume of exports also reached a record level of 1,679,236 metric tons up 8% over 2015.  On a fresh weight equivalent basis the volume was up just 1%.  This is due to the fact that dehy exports were down 20% which had a big impact when converted back to the fresh weight equivalent. Frozen exports were up 8% while fresh was up 20% with chips up 3%.  When looking at combined exports of all products Canada was the number one market for the U.S. with growth of 19%.  Japan was number two up 14% while Mexico was still third despite a 5% decline. Attached are the calendar year U.S. potato exports in spreadsheet form and with analysis as a PDF.  For further information on export figures and international markets please go to the Global Database located on the Potatoes USA grower website.

US: Growers stand up for potatoes on Capitol Hill

The National Potato Council hosted the 2017 Potato D.C. Fly-In from February 13-16, bringing together more than 150 U.S. potato growers and industry partners from across the country to advocate for the industry’s most pressing federal policy priorities. Growers visited Capitol Hill and met with federal regulators at USDA and EPA. During their Hill visits, growers urged Congress to address key industry issues including: immigration reform, potato breeding research funding, regulatory reform and international trade policy (follow links for details on actions requested). Before attendees took their messages to the Hill, they heard from Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA), in addition to renowned political analysts Dr. Larry Sabato from the University of Virginia Center for Politics and Charlie Cook, publisher of The Cook Political Report. Industry experts on tax, GMO disclosure and the Food Safety Modernization Act also addressed the general sessions. More

Potatoes: Going on the attack

Potatoes — which boosters describe as “America’s favorite vegetable” — are going on the offensive after years of fighting defensively. “We used to say, ‘It’s OK to eat potatoes,’” said Blair Richardson, president and CEO of Potatoes USA. The organization, formerly known as the U.S. Potato Board, is the nation’s potato marketing organization. Soon, however, his industry will begin to aggressively promote what it views as potatoes’ attractive combination of high nutritional value and affordability. Richardson spoke Wednesday at the first day of the annual two-day International Crop Expo in Grand Forks. The show features concurrent sessions in potatoes, soybeans/dry beans and small grains on both days, most led by North Dakota and Minnesota extension officials. Though potatoes are popular with consumers, they have critics, who insist that Americans should cut back on consumption. The potato industry has responded by stressing that spuds are safe to eat, Richardson said. More

UK: Potato grower Isle of Ely Produce enters pre pack market

Potato grower enters pre pack marketCambridgeshire potato grower Isle of Ely Produce has launched a new brand aimed at foodservice and catering suppliers to mark its entrance into the pre pack market. Named Oliver’s, after commercial director Oliver Boutwood, the brand comes as Isle of Ely recently invested in a new pre packing line. The firm, which exhibited at Fruit Logistica for the first time last week, is primarily known as a supplier to the chipping market and for its close ties with the fish and chip sector. “This is a way for us to grow the business,” said Boutwood. “The Oliver’s brand will include salad and baking potatoes, aimed at chefs, caterers and foodservice suppliers. “We want to get potatoes back on the plate again. The most important thing is for chefs to understand the difference between varieties. If you choose the wrong potato this might result in a consumer choosing a different carbohydrate next time, such as rice or pasta.” More

US: Ample supplies expected for St. Pat’s promotions

Cabbage and potato supplies should be plentiful for any St. Patrick’s Day promotions this year, grower-shippers say. According to Keith Groven, fresh sales manager with Grand Forks, N.D.-based Black Gold Farms, “The St. Patrick’s Day holiday, for reds, indexes almost as strongly as Thanksgiving.” It’s also one of the last major promotional events before the end of the storage season, Groven said. Volumes will be adequate, even after a relatively small crop went into storage, Groven noted. “Last year was a near-record harvest, and we had just a whole bunch of potatoes. This year, with a smaller crop, there’s not as many in storage, but that’s not going to affect availability,” he said. Paul Dolan, general manager for Associated Potato Growers Inc. in Grand Forks, N.D., said there will be supplies available for any promotional need related to St. Patrick’s Day. More

Are Baked Lay’s potato chips really “guilt-free”? PepsiCo says so

Image result for lays potato chips nutrition factsWhat do Baked Lay’s potato chips, Simply Tostitos chips and Diet Mountain Dew have in common? They’re all “guilt-free,” according to how PepsiCo categorizes them. In reporting higher global sales Wednesday, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi reiterated that 45 percent of the company’s revenue now comes from such “guilt-free” products. The comment underscores how malleable claims about healthfulness can be, and how food makers are trying to position themselves. Even the Food and Drug Administration said last year that it is re-evaluating its guidelines for when companies can use the term “healthy” on packaging to reflect the latest science. For PepsiCo Inc., the definition of “guilt-free” is broad. Though PepsiCo Inc. doesn’t stamp its packages with the guilt-free label, the idea conveys the message of how they’re generally marketed. More

McCain: What to expect from casual dining in 2017

In the casual dining sector, it can sometimes seem like new trends come and go in the blink of an eye. One week will see operators swapping sharing platters for small plates, and the next week trading in plates for bowls. However, the fast paced nature of Casual Dining is what we think makes the sector so exciting, with the influx of new culinary concepts and cuisines helping to keep consumers interested in what operators have to offer. Ahead of this year’s Casual Dining Show, we’ve decided to take a look at some of the directions the sector is set to head in during 2017. Take a look at our predictions, and head to our Casual Dining Show section to read more about what we’re doing at this February’s show. One of the year’s biggest upcoming trends will see chefs fine-tuning their skills, focusing in on the ingredients, flavours, and cooking methods of specific regions. This stems from a wider effort to “refresh” cuisines – like Italian, Indian or Mexican – that are now familiar to consumers, and find offerings from these countries that may until now have been overlooked. More

US: Volm Companies’ Matt Alexander Talks Light-Blocker Half-N-Half® Bags

Half-N-Half BagsOne of the many goals I have seen across the board in fresh produce, is the mission to find better ways to extend shelf-life through innovation. When it comes to the potato category, Volm Companies has retailers covered with its Light-Blocker Half-N-Half® Bags. Matt Alexander, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, joined me to discuss the highlights of Volm’s technology and what recent studies can share about the packaging product. In an effort to gather even more data and benefits of the product, Volm recently engaged the Michigan State University School of Packaging with the objective of researching the best bag to prolong potato shelf-life during retail storage. “We have made a real impact at retail and with the end-consumer with our Light-Blocker Half-N-Half bags which MSU researchers found can extend shelf-life by 12 to 17 days over traditional poly and paper bags for Russet potatoes on the measurement of weight loss,” Matt shared with me, adding that potatoes lose weight when exposed to light because their temperature rises. More

Canada: Little Potato Company chooses Linkfresh solution

ImageThe Little Potato Co, based in Edmonton in the western province of Alberta in Canada, has chosen Linkfresh Inc. to provide its enterprise resource planning system. The 25-user Microsoft Dynamics Nav Linkfresh ERP solution will give the Little Potato Co. capabilities that include integrated solutions for forecasting, finance, purchasing, sales, grading and production, according to a news release. “The Linkfresh ERP solution will allow us to eliminate inefficient manual processes in our operations, such as double data entry, as well as providing real-time information for greater insight into customer service levels and financial performance,” Matthew Havertape, vice president of finance for Little Potato Co. and project lead on the changeover, said in the release. The Little Potato Co. develops, grows and markets creamer potato varieties, according to the release. “We are thrilled to welcome The Little Potato Co. as our latest customer, and are excited to help them deploy the latest ERP technology to consolidate their market leading position,” Robert Frost, founding director of Linkfresh Inc., said in the release. (Source: The Packer. Author: Tom Karst,  a national editor for The Packer and Farm Journal Media, covering issues of importance to the produce industry including immigration, farm policy and food safety. Find Tom’s Twitter account at http://www.twitter.com/tckarst.)

Chef: Taste can play key role in potato marketing

Chef and Oregon Potato Commission public member Leif Benson serves toppings at the Washington-Oregon Potato Conference Jan. 25 in Kennewick, Wash. Benson is exploring ways to market the taste of potatoes.Quick: Describe the taste of a potato. But there’s a catch. Don’t use the word “potato” while describing it. “It’s a tricky thing,” said Leif Benson, retired Portland chef and a public member of the Oregon Potato Commission, “Potatoes have a very complex flavor. It’s not an easy thing to pin down.” Benson would like to see the industry consider the taste of a potato more. He provided an update on his efforts during the recent Washington-Oregon Potato Conference in Kennewick, Wash. The commission began offering a taste award in 2012. Every December, Benson brings in 20 chefs to conduct a sensory evaluation of 40 to 50 different potato samples. The chefs judge the potatoes for taste, texture, aroma and appearance. “Every year we do this, the chefs are completely amazed at how differently these potatoes taste, depending on variety and where they’re grown,” Benson said. All potatoes are prepared at the same time, boiled or baked depending on the best way to bring out their flavor. Capital Press

Europe: McDonald’s used a quip about eating disorders from the SKAM hit series to market french fries

McDonald’s has joined the SKAM fad in what Resumé calls a ‘jackpot’ blitz ad campign. The social media ad quotes the Norwegian hit series, which has reached such popularity outside Norway that the music rights holders complained and forced the Norwegian broadcasting company to withdraw SKAM’s international online streaming availability. In Sweden, SKAM is the most streamed show ever on the public braodcasting network SVT, according to Sveriges Radio. As of January 16, over 20 million streaming sessions had been started. The ad read, ‘Kroppen din trenger potet,’ which translates to ‘Your body needs potatoes.’ While McDonald’s uses it as an incentive to buy French fries the original quote references the eating disorder of the character Noora. More

US: School foodservice professionals encouraged to “Wake up with potatoes!”

Potatoes USA is inviting school foodservice professionals across the country to submit their most creative, potato-centric school breakfast recipes to the “Wake Up with Potatoes!” recipe contest. In anticipation of National School Breakfast Week in March, school foodservice operators are encouraged to get creative in the kitchen with fresh, frozen and/or dehydrated potatoes. A Grand Prize winner will receive a $500 gift card for use toward improvements or new tools for their school kitchen. A Runner Up will receive a Sunkist Commercial Sectionizer (a $250 value). Potatoes USA is a proud sponsor of the School Nutrition Association’s National School Breakfast Week 2017. More

Schmieding Produce launches new 100-calorie Skinny Potatoes

According to research from PaleoLeap, the average weight gain between Thanksgiving and Christmas is 3.5 pounds, but overweight people gain an average of 5 to 10 pounds during this time frame. January is a key month for Americans to lose weight. “We are extremely excited about the launch of our new 100 Calorie- Skinny potato product next week,” says Scott McDulin- Vice President of Marketing/Retail Sales with Schmieding Produce. During January, everybody wants to focus on health. “We think the January timeframe is perfect since people are actively looking for diet friendly items to help with nutritional meal planning. The Skinny potato is a 100-calorie potato that offers consumers an opportunity to use smart portion control while keeping potatoes as part of a healthy diet,” mentioned McDulin. Supermarkets are filled with 100-calorie packs of yogurt, pretzels, popcorn, snacks, etc. “Nabisco recently launched 100-calorie packs of Oreo’s,” shared McDulin. “It shows that the 100-calorie measurement resonates with today’s consumers so we wanted to add the same portion controlled serving to the potato segment.”  Continue reading

Wisconsin potato industry positioned well for winter and spring shipping

TamasHoulihan2.2011Amid their winter potato shipping season, Wisconsin potato growers are enjoying a very positive season, according to Tamas Houlihan, executive director of the Antigo, WI-based Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association. In a Jan. 11 telephone interview, Houlihan indicated that Wisconsin’s potato volume is down about 8 percent from the 2015 crop. One reducing factor was too much rain in August and September. Furthermore, 2015 brought Wisconsin a bumper potato crop. Wisconsin harvested 26 million hundredweight in 2016, down from 28 million the previous season. The 2016 crop yields about 430 hundredweight per acre. In the previous growing season, the figure was over 450 per acre. Furthermore, there was a 1,000-acre drop in 2016 plantings from 63,000 acres the previous year. “Wisconsin growers are still doing a good job of marketing and getting value for their crop,” Houlihan said. “We have excellent quality.” More

US: Progress made on Mexican potato access

Potatoes are harvested Aug. 23 in Eastern Idaho. New rules could allow fresh spuds from the U.S., now limited to within 16 miles of the border, greater access to the Mexican market.Potatoes USA officials say an “important and very positive step” has been taken in the industry’s 15-year effort to gain access to all of Mexico for fresh U.S. potato shipments. Precisely how significant the development will prove to be remains to be seen. U.S. potato exports to Mexico have been allowed only within 16 miles of the U.S. border, except for a brief period in 2014 when the market was opened. Mexican courts granted an injunction against fresh U.S. potato shipments shortly after full access was granted, based on Mexican growers’ claims that some phytosanitary issues had not been properly addressed. The restriction was reinstated and has remained in place ever since. On Jan. 13, Mexico’s agriculture department, called SAGARPA, published a pest risk assessment for U.S. potatoes and a sheet offering requirements for shipping fresh U.S. potatoes beyond the 16-mile zone. More

New McDonald’s french-fry video stars Idaho potato farmer, a Simplot supplier

McDonald’s chefs Jessica Foust and Dan Coudreaut toured Noble Farms in Glenns Ferry.In 1967, Idaho potato magnate J.R. Simplot shook hands with McDonald’s CEO Ray Kroc, sealing a deal that made Simplot the first frozen french-fry supplier to the fast-food chain. That deal brought billions of dollars to the Idaho economy. Until then, McDonald’s had purchased only fresh potatoes. The J.R. Simplot Co. had supplied about 20 percent of the spuds that became McDonald’s fries. By convincing Kroc that frozen fries would deliver consistency and overcome a shortage of Russet Burbank potatoes in the summer, Simplot instantly became McDonald’s largest spud supplier. A McDonald’s marketing video released Nov. 11 offers a glimpse into the Boise company’s role without mentioning Simplot. The video features a Glenns Ferry potato farmer, Mark Noble, discussing potatoes with two McDonald’s chefs. Noble sells those potatoes to Simplot for processing into frozen fries. Since the legendary handshake, Simplot has diversified and grown into an international agribusiness that grossed $5.8 billion in sales last year. McDonald’s remains its largest customer. More

Warnez introduces packaging in ‘grab & go’ category: New transparent upright packaging for potatoes

“The trend for smaller packaging has been happening for a while. We always want to help our customers find new solutions. In order to catch the eye and be distinctive in this specific segment on the potato shelves, the choice was made to use an upright bag this time. This is being used more and more often within the fresh produce sector,” says Peter van Steenkiste from Warnez. “As pioneers in the segment of small potato packaging, we recently introduced this new packaging.” Van Steenkiste emphasises that the upright bag for potatoes is new on the Belgian potato market. “We saw this kind of packaging at the Fruit Logistica several years ago and we also regularly saw this upright bag via photo reports on AGF.nl. But it is still relatively unknown on the potato market. That is why we introduced this new packaging in consultation with a retailer. The upright bag concerned is partially transparent and holds one kilogram of potatoes.”  Continue reading

Italy: Naturveneta introduces Patata Veneta potatoes for frying

In 2011, Naturveneta, a consortium of Veneto producers, introduced all-purpose potatoes under the Patata Veneta brand and certified their origin with the Qualità Certificata mark. “We managed to stand out on the market because consumers could identify with our product,” explains Gianmarco Peruffo, sales manager for Naturveneta. The potatoes are now available at Alì Supermercati, Pam Panorama, Coop Italia and Despar. “At a time when consumers are increasingly careful about the origin of products, we are witnessing a rise in popularity of local produce.” This is why traders are promoting regional varieties, with or without denomination of origin or geographical indication marks. “We decided to widen our range. Our clients (i.e. retailers) were asking for new products, and we believe Veneto producers can truly make the difference. Starting with the concept of a potato that is 100% of Venetian origin, we have introduced various types of potatoes.” Naturveneta has therefore introduced potatoes for frying, which this week have become available in the Tosano supermarket chain (which also commercialises the brand’s all-purpose potatoes). Continue reading

Potatoes USA curates potato recipes for athletes

“Athletic performance is an exciting area of research opportunities for many food products, like potatoes, especially here in our country, where we are so dependent on rice when it comes to carbohydrate source,” said nutrition coach Jeaneth Aro at an event hosted recently by Potatoes USA, the marketing arm of the US potato industry. The event opened with a workshop on potato nutrition and culminated with a food-tasting activity led by celebrity Chef Sau del Rosario. Potatoes USA also introduced four potato dishes designed to support the energy and nutritional needs of athletes in training. Since athletes undergo intense training, a high-performance diet is vital to give them the energy they need throughout their activities. More

Idaho Potato Commission’s newest commercial set to air nationwide

Does the real Idaho Potato Farmer finally find his missing truck? Find out by watching the new commercial featuring Farmer Mark and the Big Idaho Potato Truck. It aired on national cable networks — including The Food Network, CNN, Headline News, Fox News and The History and Cooking Channels — beginning Nov. 11. The commercials made their debut five years ago during the first Big Idaho Potato Truck Tour. This year marks the sixth installment of the Idaho Potato Commission’s wildly popular television commercials starring Farmer Mark and his on-going search for the elusive Big Idaho Potato Truck. “Since we launched the campaign five years ago, we’ve received thousands of calls from folks located all across the country with updates on the truck’s whereabouts,” Frank Muir, president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “One of the reasons the commercials have been so effective is because of the incredible consumer engagement component reinforced by the truck’s nationwide tour when it was seen by tens of millions of people of all ages.” The new commercial aired twice during the Boise State University and BYU football game Oct. 20 as part of the IPC sponsorship package and its long-standing support of the Broncos. The commercial will air through early April, achieving more than 550 million audience impressions. The video is also available on the IPC’s YouTube channel.