On this National French Fry Day, ORE-IDA introduces Potato Pay, the future of mealtime bribery

Image result for This National French Fry Day, ORE-IDA Introduces Potato Pay, the Future of Mealtime BriberyToday is National French Fry Day in the US. In a press release issued earlier today, potato processor ORE-IDA says the company knows it’s at times hard to get kids to eat their dinner. Mealtime serves up tantrums and tears regularly. It usually takes some sort of bribe or game to get them to eat that one piece of broccoli, the company says. So, why change a method that we all know already works, when it can simply be renamed? Meet Potato Pay, a new and easy way to get your children to eat their dinner. Each fry is a piece of crispy golden currency designed to be the most satisfying bribery tool possible. Just pay your child with the ORE-IDA fries they love to eat, in return for bites of the foods that they don’t. For example, one bite of chicken = one fry, a mushroom = three fries and a spoonful of quinoa = five fries. Refer to the easy-to-use mealtime bribery chart, or “Frynancial Guide,” to see the fry value of various food items. Ore-Ida says the idea for Potato Pay is simple yet powerful —mealtime can be a real struggle for parents… Full press release

Taco Bell wants to ‘Make Potato Great’ again in India

Image result for Crispy PotacoAloo Jeera, Aloo Gobhi, Aloo Matar, Aloo Palak, Aloo Methi; these are just some of the more typical items you’ll find on most Indian menus. Boiled, mashed, baked, blanched, fried et al, the humble potato, a staple for many, can be served up in so many (many) forms and thus, caters to a wide variety of taste buds. But what does it have to do with Taco Bell? Well, the American fast-food brand has decided to decode Indian’s insatiable love affair with the mighty potato with the introduction of an all-new ‘Crispy Potaco‘ to their menu and the aim to #MakePotatoGreat. Through this digital-only campaign, conceptualised by Ogilvy and seemingly aimed at millennials, Tanmay Bhat, comedian and social influencer, is seen in the video pitching the product or rather, the potato, to investors. India as a region continues to be a key growth focus for Taco Bell globally and the brand believes it can be one of their biggest markets outside of the US, in the near future. Read more

PepsiCo attempts health focus in Thailand

PepsiCo Food, a part of Pepsi-Cola Thai Trading Co and the maker of Lay’s potato chips, is shifting to healthier snack options. The company aims to make Sunbites, a multigrain snack, healthy snack brand among Thais. The move is part of Pepsi-Cola’s 2016-25 strategic plan to focus on three core priorities: improving health and well-being through the products it sells, protecting the planet and empowering people around. The company previously launched baked potato chips under the Lay’s brand and moved to use rice bran oil, replacing palm oil. Lay’s potato chips have grown in double-digits in the first five months of this year to grow by 17%.  Read more

Belgian potato processor says it responds to consumer demands

Image result for lutosaIn an interview with Dan Orehov or Potato Processing International magazine, the  marketing director of Lutosa, Françoise Saint-Ghislain, discussed trends and innovation in processed potato products. Orehov asked her how she views the current market trends concerning processed potatoes, including french fries, and in particular what consumers prefer. “We noticed a rise in our customer’s demand for organic-based products,” Saint-Ghislain said. “Therefore, we have been expanding our existing range of frozen fries (Straight Cut and Pom’Steak), wedges, mashed potatoes, and potato flakes (for instant mash), by introducing frozen dices. The organic range targets the industry, the food service and retail markets.” Saint-Ghislain also said that gluten-free is a trend where Lutosa can easily play a role as all its fries and cut products (wedges, slices, dices…) are 100% gluten-free. “Staying in is the new going out!,” Saint-Ghislain said. People are gathering more and more at home, ordering food online. Read more

In America, millennials eat – potatoes!

Copy editor and designer Amelia Freidline and staff writer Ashley Nickle of The Packer magazine produced a delightful short video in which they discuss the produce age gap for potatoes, which according to Fresh Trends research are purchased much more by older generations than by millennials. Amelia and Ashley talk through the perceived drawbacks to potatoes and suggest marketing angles that work around those, and as usual they sample a delectable dish prepared by Amelia. Says Amelia: “Potatoes are easy. They are good for you. You don’t want to waste them…” Go here to watch the video on The Packer website. For more on the concept of the produce age gap, check out this column by editor Greg Johnson.

Lamb Weston stock gains on demand for fries, new product innovation

Image result for taco bell's nacho friesNo matter how you slice, mash or fry it, Lamb Weston Holdings has been on a tear since going public a year and a half ago. The Eagle, Idaho-based company has become a top supplier of frozen potato, sweet potato, appetizer and vegetable products to restaurants and retailers worldwide. By finding new ways to get spuds to the public in new forms, its stock keeps trending higher. Take last quarter, when the company got a sales boost via Taco Bell’s Nacho Fries. Yum Brands, the fast-food chain’s parent company, called the spicy potato fries the most popular debut in Taco Bell’s history. Lamb Weston Chief Executive Tom Werner says the company has benefited from strong demand and new product innovation. “As our strong third quarter and year-to-date results show, our commercial and supply chain teams are executing well and the operating environment continues to be favorable,” Werner said on a recent earnings call with analysts. Read more

Specialty potato brand into third quarter of campaign

Related imageTasteful Selections™, a specialty potato brand from RPE Inc. in the US, launched the third quarter of its yearlong Fresh campaign, July 3. According to the company, the campaign provides insights and inspiration revolving around healthy, nutritious recipes and kitchen tips for more confident meal preparation. “Tasteful Selections best-quality bite-size potatoes transform everyday meals into family favorites by adding nutrition, versatility and variety,” said Tim Huffcutt, marketing director for RPE, exclusive marketer of category leader Tasteful Selections. Over the course of the yearlong campaign, more than 50 recipes, videos and blogs will be introduced in order to help experienced and novice healthy food enthusiasts keep their menus fresh, the company said.

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New print magazine aimed at the global potato industry announced

Dear folks, as some of you already know by now, a new print magazine aimed at the international potato industry will be published in early September this year. The magazine will be titled “Global Potato News“. I will function as the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine. We are interested then to hear from individuals and companies who might want to submit an article, or place an advertisement in the magazine – I can discuss article format with you, or send along a media kit right away if you wish. The theme of the launch issue will be “Trends in the global potato industry“. Please feel free to get in touch with me if you have an interest in this?
Spud greetings from Canada,
Lukie Pieterse

Trade spat: Mexican judge bars US potato imports into Mexico

Related imageMexico Daily News reported minutes ago that a federal judge has barred the import of fresh potatoes from the United States today on national security and bio-security grounds. The decision, made by José Francisco Pérez Mier of the Seventh District Court in Los Mochis, Sinaloa — a potato-producing state, overturned a 2016 decision adopted by the Secretariat of Agriculture (Sagarpa) to allow potato imports from Mexico’s northern neighbor. The judge said that Sagarpa’s reform to the Federal Law on Plant Health was unconstitutional because it didn’t include measures to protect against the introduction of plant diseases and therefore posed a threat to national sovereignty and security and crops such as chiles, tomatoes, eggplants and tobacco. The domestic potato industry could disappear if fresh potato imports from the United States continue, Pérez said. The amparo or injunction he handed down said the lack of protective measures “implies an imminent risk of plagues spreading on national soil.”  Continue reading

Winds of change: Is America ready for a new potato?

Related imageFrom the Russet to the red and yellow, to specialty potato varieties, the US is a large producer and consumer of potatoes. In recent years, more people are seeking out new varieties and there is an increasing focus on flavor. One US-based company has been tasked with distributing one of the newest varieties of potatoes – the Huckleberry Gold. Grown in Idaho, Washington and Oregon, the Huckleberry Gold is a cross breed of European and American varieties. “The Huckleberry Gold is a purple-skinned, yellow-flesh potato that has been cultivated in the Northwest by our grower partner,” said Harris Cutler of Race-West, the company chosen to distribute the variety. “Every year they try out different varieties and last August, they began harvesting the Huckleberry Gold. The company grow for flavor and this year they are working on an all-purple potato.” “The parentage of the Huckleberry is fascinating,” he added.  Continue reading

It’s big. And it’s mobile: Four-ton Idaho ‘potato on wheels’ hits the highway

This is not the kind of thing you expect to pass you on the highway. A massive souped up potato is set to hit the road. It’s a new and improved “pimped out” big Idaho potato truck. The new version is made of fiberglass and is a slimmed down potato compared to the original. It weighs four tons, making it two starchy tons lighter than the old version. “It is going to be an incredible continuation of this big Idaho Potato pop culture that we’ve created for Idaho,” Idaho Potato Commission President Frank Muir said. The new potato truck is now gearing up for a nationwide tour as part of Idaho’s multimillion-dollar promotional campaign. Watch the video on Fox5

Great potato, good times: Idaho is building a better Big Potato

20180618_potato_mw_55.jpgSharolyn Schofield has to get the color of a potato just right. It’s no easy thing. You can’t go to the paint counter at the hardware store and say, “Give me five gallons of potato.” Paint scanners can’t match the color of a potato skin. So Sharolyn blends brown and yellow and black and white and red, and her final coats lighten and shade the Big Idaho Potato to burbank russet verisimilitude. And it does look lifelike… “That’s our job,” says Sharolyn, “to make it look as real as possible.” To say that Sharolyn and her husband Chris Schofield are the world’s top big potato experts is no overstatement. They have built two for the New Year’s Idaho Potato Drop and now two for the Potato Commission. The latest – a four-ton potato – will begin touring the nation Saturday, the star of the Potato Commission’s multi-million dollar promotion effort that will take it to 70 events this year. Since fall, Idaho’s new Big Idaho Potato has been Schofield Designs’ full-time job. The Weiser artists/fabricators have put their other custom art work aside for the new and improved potato. Read more

Spuds in the Box: New initiative from Potatoes USA targets the meal kit market

According to Nielsen, 9% of Americans say they’ve purchased a meal kit in the last six months – that’s 10.5 million households, and 25% of consumers say they would consider trying a meal kit in the next six months – and that’s more than 30 million households! What better potato ingredients to utilize in meal kits than dehydrated formats? Because of their popularity, versatility and cost-efficiency, potatoes are the perfect meal kit ingredient, according to Potatoes USA. To get the word out to this growing market, Potatoes USA recently mailed meal kit inspired materials to 25 leading meal kit companies. The potato filled package included a welcome letter, dehydrated potato product information, meal kit-friendly recipes (each utilizing a different form of dehydrated potatoes) and samples of the ingredients themselves. A logo’d potato friendly spatula and USB drive containing videos of chefs preparing delicious dishes using dehydrated potatoes rounded out the box.  Continue reading

Not so humble anymore: First ever campaign to promote the potato on a global scale gets underway

Image result for "imagine a world without potatoes"Staunch supporters of the humble potato have decided that its high time that consumers across the world have a pause and realize that this tuber, taken so much for granted, may very well hold the key to food security for generations to come. Initiating a first ever global promotions campaign of this nature, the the International Potato Center (CIP) – headquartered in Peru – recently announced the “Imagine a World without Potatoes” campaign, inviting millions of potato consumers around the world to imagine life without the potatoes that they are so used to having around in all its varieties and presentations. The campaign seeks to bring together diverse partners from the global potato sector, be it private companies, trade associations and public research institutes, among others. “It’s a call to action; we’re giving consumers the freedom to use their imagination and draw their own conclusions. Potatoes are an integral part of our lives, they evoke feelings of tradition, home cooked meals, warmth and comfort. The problem is not that potato fails to inspire, but that we take it for granted,” said Marc de Beaufort, Marketing Specialist at CIP. Visit the dedicated website where more information on the campaign can be found: aworldwithoutpotatoes.com

In the firing line: Trade war targets iconic Idaho potatoes

As the centerpiece of state’s agricultural industry, the Idaho potato is iconic. For many Americans, it’s Idaho’s only notable characteristic, a source of annoyance for locals and tourists who have plenty of reasons to love the Gem State. Whether or not one relishes Idaho’s reputation as the land of potatoes, the vegetable remains an important pillar of the state economy — a resilient export backed by proven quality and true marketing power. That reliability may be in question following a suite of tariffs imposed by Mexico in retaliation to President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Mexican steel and aluminum. Among the products targeted, which largely center on major exports from predominantly Republican states, are potatoes, which were hit with a 20-percent tariff. According to Idaho State Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Chanel Tewalt, those tariffs could put the Idaho potato’s quality and brand strength to the test. Read more