UK: Albert Bartlett is raising money to help vulnerable people

Eat potatoes to reduce povertyBritish potato suppliers Albert Bartlett have signed up to Sport Relief by pledging to donate 5p for every promotional bag of Rooster potatoes sold. [Sport Relief is a biennial charity event from Comic Relief, in association with BBC Sport, which brings together the worlds of sport and entertainment to raise money to help vulnerable people in both the UK and the world’s poorest countries.] The company said they were creating a number of sporting initiatives and campaigns to encourage its consumers and staff to get involved with Sport Relief, which runs from 17 – 23 March. Albert Bartlett head of marketing Michael Jarvis said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Sport Relief and helping its work both to improve the lives of people in the UK and internationally and in getting the nation off the couch.” More

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

Potato range a nod to growing convenience sector

The rise in the popularity of convenient and easy to prepare produce items continues to make its presence felt in supermarkets. One potato producer has recognized this trend and has created a number of products to cover almost every aspect of preparing potatoes. Fresh Solutions Network, its members based across the US, created what they have named the “Side Delights” convenience range and potato kits. The Convenience range includes ‘Steamables’, ‘Bakeables’, and ‘Grillables’, and they also have Potato kits in ‘Roastables’ and ‘Flavorables’, each providing a different cooking method for potatoes. Molly Connors of Basin Gold, a member of Fresh Solutions Network, said the company began introducing the convenience range almost 10 years ago. Not only are consumers looking for a greater range of fast preparation and cooking options, but they are also buying smaller pack sizes. Hence why Connors said the company has opted for sizes designed to be used once. More

Albert Bartlett potato producer receives £4m Scottish Government grant

Albert Bartlett receives £4m Scottish Government grantUK-based potato producer Albert Bartlett has received a £4 million grant from the Scottish Government, which the brand will use to expand its product range and manufacturing capacity. Albert Bartlett has stated that the grant will contribute towards a £17 million investment scheme, which will see the brand install new production equipment at the Firm’s Airdrie plant, facilitating the production of new product lines for the convenience and chilled potato markets. The £4 million Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation grant is the largest award issued since the scheme was introduced by the Scottish Government in 2015. Mark Murray, managing director of Albert Bartlett’s added value business said: “We are grateful for this grant from the Scottish Government, which is essential in allowing the company to diversify into the growing convenience and chilled potato market. 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

PepsiCo is developing women-only snacks because potato chips are so hard for girls

Image result for Pepsi is developing women-only snacks because potato chips are so hard for girlsPepsiCo’s CEO Indra Nooyi has announced a turning point in the history snack foods. In an interview with Freakonomics, Nooyi revealed that the company would be launching lady snacks, finally allowing women everywhere to eat between meals just as men have done for centuries. Were you not aware that crunchy, crunchy chips were secretly, somehow insufficiently feminine? More the fool you. Talking about Doritos, the female executive pointed out that men and women eat the chips very differently. She said, “A lot of young guys eat the chips . . . and they lick their fingers with great glee,” while women, on the other hand, don’t. “They don’t like to crunch too loudly in public, and they don’t lick their fingers generously and they don’t like to pour the little broken pieces and the flavor in their mouth.”  More

US company sees ‘solid interest’ in organic express-bake potato

Image result for express bake potatohFarm Fresh Direct featured its organic “Express Bake PotatOH!” at the inaugural Global Organic Produce Expo Jan. 27, which is presented by The Packer and parent company Farm Journal.. The Monte Vista, Colo.-based company actually launched the product a couple of years ago, but the market was not quite ready, said Lonnie Gillespie, director of organic sales and marketing. With its re-release in September, however, there has been solid interest. “There’s some real positive feedback on them,” Gillespie said. “Everyone wants organic and convenience, and that’s both.” The potato is pre-washed and can be cooked in its wrap in a microwave in 6-7 minutes, according to its label. Farm Fresh Direct also spoke with expo attendees about its value proposition. “Customers are able to fill trucks with organics and conventionals and specialties out of the same area, so it’s a huge cost advantage,” said vice president Dave Yeager.

UK: Potato giant weathers poor harvest

Potato giant weathers poor harvestTurnover and profits have held firm at Manor Fresh, the Lincolnshire-headquartered supplier of potatoes to retail giant Marks & Spencer, despite a “challenging” market following one of the worst harvests on record. The company, which employs more than 170 staff at its base in Spalding, has reported a slight drop in turnover to £59.2m for the year to 29 April 2017, down from £60.3m the year before. Pre-tax profits stayed at £1.6m. The results come following the fourth smallest potato crop harvest in the country on records going back to 1960, Manor Fresh said. “The company managed this challenging UK potato market environment very effectively by collaborating closely with our growers and supply partners and was able to successfully maintain industry leading product and quality standards throughout the period for the company’s valued customer base.” More

Ireland: Farmer brothers extend massive deal with Tesco to supply 65,000t of potatoes and veg

Michael Hoey with Sheila Gallagher, commercial director, Tesco Ireland and Gabriel Hoey.Country Crest, the north Dublin-based family-owned agri-business, and Tesco Ireland have confirmed a further extension of its almost 20 year relationship until 2020. Owned by Gabriel and Michael Hoey, Country Crest will continue to supply all potatoes, onions and sweet potatoes to Tesco Ireland’s 149 stores and via online shopping in a deal worth over €60m. The 2020 agreement will see Tesco Ireland source over 65,000t of fresh produce from Country Crest, including over 20,000t of potatoes sourced on a yearly basis (approximately 158m individual potatoes) including golden wonder, queens and organic. The fourth generation of the Hoey family, brothers Michael and Gabriel, established Country Crest to grow and pre-pack fresh potatoes for the retail sector and are famed for their passion for authenticity, innovation and the best quality produce. More

UK: Seed potato suppliers to retail market see 10-15% sales increase

Accord seed potatoes - image: JBATaylor’s Bulbs says seed potato sales are 10-15% up following the decision by Westland/Unwins and Thompson & Morgan to pull out of the 2018 garden centre seed potato supply market. Taylor’s director Adam Taylor says seed potato sales have started already. JBA Seed Potatoes completed the outright purchase of the Westlands/Unwins seed potato business as of 8 August 2017. JBA’s Iain Barbour said: “Yes, they will be up a good 10-15% as we supply them and we are an easy 15-20% up on last years trade with us taking Unwins over. “We have picked up trade from wholesalers and major retail outlets. (Source: HortucultureWeek)

“Supermarket Guru” told Potato Expo attendees to keep up with consumer trends

Keeping up with consumer trends and the breakneck pace of technology may not be easy but it is necessary to thrive, Phil Lempert told 2018 Potato Expo attendees. Lempert, known as the Supermarket Guru, covered his list of top 10 food industry trends of 2018 in Jan. 10 fast-moving talk on the Potato Expo’s first day. “Consumers needs have changed and evolved and the retail landscape is changing dramatically,” Lempert said. “Smaller supermarkets, more fresh supermarkets — we are seeing all kinds of retail environments that are changing the potato world.” Two of the ten trends Lempert stressed are: Mindfulness – More consumers are looking for assurance of transparency, local origin and great taste when they buy food. Consumers want brands that help solve problems.  Continue reading

UK: Burts Potato Chips snaps up popcorn maker

UK-based Burts Potato Chips is making strides towards its goal of being a leader in snacking with the acquisition of popcorn business Savoury & Sweet Ltd. This is the first acquisition for Burts which is diversifying and expanding its healthy snacking product range to now include popcorn. “The Burts business has grown significantly over the last five years, from £11.4m (US$15.4 million) in 2013 to an anticipated £37m (US$50 million) post-acquisition for 2017,” says David Nairn, managing director of Burts, who will lead the newly formed business. “While impressive, our ambition is to drive the business to over £100m in the next five years to become the UK’s biggest player within premium snacking.” Savoury & Sweet will continue to operate under the existing brand name for now but will be re-branded as Burts Snacks in due course. More