Aviko to join direct-to-consumer movement

INS, the decentralized ecosystem for the grocery market, has announced that leading potato processing company, Aviko intends to be listed on the INS Ecosystem, joining the direct-to-consumer movement. Peter Fedchenkov, INS Founder explained that inequitable pricing, retailer influence and a lack of transparency are all major concerns for both manufacturers and consumers and the direct-to-consumer movement is on the agenda of FMCG companies everywhere. [Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) or consumer packaged goods (CPG) are products that are sold quickly and at relatively low cost.] “A direct marketplace powered by emerging technology brings us ever closer to not only addressing these concerns but solving inherent problems within the grocery sector. We are elated with the interest we have received to date from manufacturers worldwide who also wish to evolve their current processes, strengthening the obvious need for the direct-to-consumer movement. We are both delighted and eager to collaborate with Aviko,” added Fedchenkov.

Aldi’s rocketing potato sales in Wales highlights popularity of homegrown produce

Aldi’s potato sales rocket in WalesAldi’s potato sales in Wales have risen by a third since the retailer began sales of Welsh potatoes five months ago, highlighting the popularity of homegrown produce in the country. The discounter began stocking Welsh-grown potatoes in July 2017, thanks in part to a £4.8 million government support package adopted in 2015, which allowed producers to expand their production. This has helped generate a 33 per cent increase in Aldi’s potato sales, and the supermarket has ordered an additional 11,000 tonnes of Welsh potatoes, worth around £5 million, for the 2017/18 season. Puffin Produce supplies the supermarket with Maris Piper, baking and red potatoes, which are grown in Pembrokeshire and the Wye Valley. Says Huw Thomas, managing director of Puffin Produce: “It is amazing that Aldi is able to see an immediate uplift of 33 per cent within their potato category in Wales by providing a Welsh offering. “It really does show the fierce loyalty of the Welsh consumer to the large Welsh flag on the bag.” More

US: Retail potato sales inch up for third straight month

In September, the total potato category was up 0.08 percent by weight when compared to the same time frame last year according to numbers from Potatoes USA. The total potato category was carried by deli (+2.4 percent), frozen (+1.3 percent) and fresh (+0.6 percent) with dehydrated and refrigerated declining, -0.03 percent and -1 percent respectively. Potatoes USA Chief Marketing Officer John Toaspern said the industry is “on a roll” when asked about the recent release of data. In the fresh potato category, the volume was carried by yellow (+8.4 percent), fingerling (+6.6 percent) and russets (+1.7 percent). Additionally, within package sizes, larger than 10 pound bags grew by double digits at +10.9 percent and 1-to-4 pound bags grew 7.9 percent. A full report is available for the total potato category and for the fresh potato category. (Source: Spudman)

Greenvale invests in new organic varieties

Greenvale invests in new organic varietiesGreenvale is investing heavily in new organic potato varieties as it looks to address a shortage in reliable, high-yielding organic potatoes. The producer and breeder, which claims to be the UK’s largest supplier of fresh organic potatoes, wants to support retailers as they try to grow this area of the market. It is looking to develop more hardy varieties than the Dutch and German potatoes currently on offer, which, according to technical and seed director Paul Coleman, “don’t produce a very big plant”. “Organics only account for about three to four per cent of potato sales at the moment,” he said. “It’s not a very big market and effectively it’s almost a service to the retailers to support all the other things we do. The supermarkets want an organic offering so you’ve got to be able to provide that. You’re not going to get rich on organics – in fact, you’re probably going to lose money – but it’s part of the overall range and you don’t make money across the whole piece.” More

US: Potandon launches CarbSmart yellow potatoes

Image result for carbsmart potato potandonIdaho-based Potandon Produce introduced its low-carbohydrate CarbSmart potato at Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit show in October, said Ralph Schwartz, vice president of sales.The new item is part of Potandon’s promotional focus on potatoes as healthy items, Schwartz said. It’s the first of many that will come out that have additional health benefits,” he said of CarbSmart. The product has 55% fewer carbohydrates than rice or pasta, Schwartz said. When you look at this potato, it has 7 grams less carbs per serving than a regular yellow potato. We’ve been testing it for years. It’s exciting.” More

Idaho Potato Commission takes steps to address quality concerns

University of Idaho Plant Sciences Professor Mike Thornton demonstrates how proper cushioning within equipment can reduce potato bruising Nov. 14 during the Idaho Potato Commission’s Big Idaho Potato Harvest Meeting. Thornton and UI Extension storage specialist Nora Olsen are helping the commission evaluate the possible causes of fresh potato quality concerns by some customers.

The Idaho Potato Commission is collaborating with researchers, major buyers, growers and shippers to address recent quality concerns about some of the state’s fresh potato shipments. Much of the discussion during IPC’s Nov. 14 Big Idaho Potato Harvest Meeting, hosted at the Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Event Center, focused on the need to reduce bruising and other imperfections in fresh shipments. IPC President and CEO Frank Muir explained the commission is partnering with Walmart and a major food service buyer to learn more about the causes of quality problems, in response to an increasing number of customer complaints since the 2015 harvest. Muir said IPC also plans to conduct quality-improvement workshops for growers and shippers, is developing a handbook outlining best practices for handling potatoes and has commissioned University of Idaho potato researchers Nora Olsen and Mike Thornton to study the supply chain and determine causes of damage. More

US: Students dig in to help create new value from potatoes

Sterman Masser, Pennsylvania’s largest potato producer, knows consumers aren’t reaching for 5- and 10-pound bags of raw potatoes like they used to. Growing its business means adding more new and convenient products, so the company is eyeing a new spot in the grocery store’s produce department: the ready-to-eat, precut fruits and vegetables section. The national supplier is building upon its history of innovation to solve several problems. For example, cut potato flesh browns in 10 days — a fraction of the shelf-life of a raw, whole potato. Students in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences are working on finding solutions to that problem, plus the challenge of winning consumers over to a new product. “We’re trying to take potatoes to that next level and stay relevant,” said Dave Masser, president of Sterman Masser, and also a College of Ag Sciences alumnus. More

UK: Branston’s Italian spuds return to Tesco

Branston's Italian spuds return to TescoBranston’s Italian new potatoes are back in Tesco stores for a seventh season. The spuds, grown in the Puglia region by Giuseppe Distaso, are being sold in 400 Tesco stores for five weeks. They represent the final seasonal new potato of the calendar year. Branston is suppliying more than 300 tonnes of the crop to Tesco, with shoppers able to purchase loose or in a 750g bag. “Our research shows that shoppers engage with new-season potatoes as they appreciate their fluffy skins and fresh taste,” said George Christoudias, sales and marketing director at Branston. “In season from late October, new potatoes from Italy are a highlight in the seasonal calendar. Renowned for their creamy texture, Italian potatoes are a new potato that will bring back memories of summertime with their light flavour.” More

India: ITC launches new Farmland brand, to sell potato based products

ITCITC Ltd has forayed into the fresh fruits and vegetables market under the ‘Farmland’ brand of products by launching value-added potatoes such as low sugar potatoes, potatoes with antioxidant, baby potatoes and French fry potatoes. The company claims these potatoes are naturally low in fat and sugar with fat content below 0.2% and sugar level below 2% respectively. ITC plans to work with the Indian Council for Agricultural Research – Central Potato Research. The company will target the potato market in metros and mini-metros which alone is close to Rs 5000 crore opportunity. The company plans to sell the products through organised retail, e-commerce and even neighbourhood vegetable vendors. ITC said it is the largest seed potato company in India. More

Swedish potato and onion sales system in German supermarkets

The Swedish system Agripo that has become the standard way of selling root vegetables in Sweden has now also been introduced in Germany. Especially the North of Germany was very interested. The system has been tested and can now be found in supermarkets such as Edeka, Real and Rewe. Agripo is a system in which separate potatoes on pallets can be sold in a simple and appealing way. This spring, Swedish Butikskonsult presented Agripo at the EuroShop in Düsseldorf with the goal to introduce the product in Germany. The reactions were positive. “The Agrpio system is the customary way of selling root vegetables in Sweden. We are of the opinion that it would be great if it would be used more and more outside of Sweden,” says Johan Särefors, Head of Export at Butikskonsult. More

Lasering text on fresh produce becoming more popular in Belgium

During the Empack 2017 in Mechelen, Belgium, the company Presa presented various packing and coding machines that can be applied in the fresh produce sector. One machine gaining popularity that’s used by a company in Overijse is the Solaris laser machine for potatoes, fruit and vegetables. Using a CO2 laser, the machine brands fresh products with a text or logo of your choice. During the fair, Sofie Vandereycken presents the starter model eMark Eco of the laser-marking system at Presa’s stand. According to her, the technique is gradually emerging in Belgium. “In the Netherlands, but internationally as well, it’s already a bit bigger,” Sofie says. “Using a CO2 laser technique, the machines can brand the peel of fruit or vegetables with a logo or text. It’s not just possible for thicker peels, such as melon or avocado.” More

US: Potato marketers weigh in on consumer trends

Idaho potato growers see two major trends with their products: consumers are increasingly looking for smaller pack sizes and for potatoes other than russets. Ralph Schwartz, vice president of marketing, sales and innovation at Idaho Falls, Idaho-based Potandon Produce LLC, mentioned the rise of 5-pound bags at retail, displacing 10-pounders in popularity. “I actually think there will be a resurgence in the popularity of big bags,” he said. “I still see a strong demand for big bags during Thanksgiving and Christmas.” Stephen Abend, chief operations officer for Nonpareil Farms, Blackfoot, Idaho, agreed that consumers prefer smaller pack sizes for russets — 3-pound, 4-pound and 5-pound bags. The increased interest in smaller pack sizes has spurred the industry to come up with new ideas and technology, said Kevin Stanger, president of Wada Farms Marketing Group, Idaho Falls, Idaho. More

US retail records growth for potatoes in August

USA total potato retail performance recorded growth in August 2017, according to Total Store Monthly Potato Report August 2017, by Potatoes USA. The dollars growth in the category Fresh Potatoes was mainly driven by “other” (+41.3%), “yellow” (+11.0%) and “red” (+4.1%) potatoes. The yellow potatoes drove the majority of the volume growth, comparing to the same period a year ago. Frozen potatoes growth was majorly driven by Tarter Tots, in both dollars and volume sales. The increased sales in Deli Potatoes is mainly from Potato Salad which holds the highest share. More

Robinson Fresh and Albert Bartlett bring British potatoes to North America

Robinson Fresh and Albert Bartlett bring premium potatoes to North America. (Photo: Albert Bartlett)Robinson Fresh®, a division of C.H. Robinson, is now the exclusive provider of Albert Bartlett potatoes in North America. Albert Bartlett is a leader in the fresh and frozen potato market for the United Kingdom, and is increasing its presence in North America with headquarters in Denver and growers throughout the continent. “When we heard Albert Bartlett was looking for opportunities to further expand into the North American market, we knew we wanted to get involved,” said Michael Castagnetto, vice president of global sourcing at Robinson Fresh. “Albert Bartlett plays in a unique space in the food industry that we see as the forefront of consumer trends — the company prioritizes flavor to drive the category and provides a premium option to offer a meaningful culinary experience. As Michelin-star chefs and home cooks alike are utilizing this product, we believe this is the future direction of the produce industry.” More

US: RPE to feature new product innovations at Fresh Summit

What’s new in the fresh potato category? From RPE, Inc. a new potato item, a unique approach for commodity product and fresh innovations that add value for both consumers and retailers alike. New featured item: SteamPak Mini™, for the health conscious and on-the-go consumer, is a single-serve package of fresh potatoes. Microwaving in four minutes for a great snack or side dish, SteamPak Mini has no additives and addresses a trend toward smaller pack sizes and a desire from consumers to reduce food waste. Unique approach for commodity product: Old Oak Farms® Party Potatoes, offered exclusively by RPE, are fingerling potatoes re-imagined with precise size specifications. RPE will also highlight Tasteful Selections Steam & Savor™ steamable bags featuring Organic Mini Sweet Potatoes, and White Russet® brand potatoes. More