Kronen installs potato processing line for big Russian retail chain

The new Kronen processing line, which has been recently installed at the retail chain, Lenta, in St. Petersburg, processes up to 600 kilograms per hour. Lenta is one of the biggest retail chains in Russia and the second largest hyper-market chain in the country. Lenta operates 195 hyper-markets in 78 cities, all over Russia, and 53 supermarkets in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nowosibirsk and the central region. For the introduction of a new product portfolio of cleaned, pre-cut and vacuum packaged vegetables such as carrots, red beets, as well as potatoes in different shapes and packaging sizes – Lenta was looking for an ideal option to prepare these products cheaply and automated. With this background in mind, Lenta contacted the Russian Kronen Representative Industrial Nutrition ( More

Taiwan: Gov’t to control future GMO potato imports

Agriculture authorities say they’re prepared to implement controls to prevent the possible import of U.S. genetically modified (GMO) potatoes from affecting domestic growers. The U.S. recently applied with the Health and Welfare Ministry to import GMO potatoes, with the approval process expected to be completed next year at the earliest. However, concerns are being raised about the potential health impacts of GMO food products and the adverse effects of these imports on domestic potato farmers. The Council of Agriculture said Monday it would monitor future imports and call for proper labeling of foreign GMO potatoes. If approved for import, the GMO potatoes would be used in potato chips, French fries and other processed food products. The government currently allows five types of GMO products to be imported, namely soybeans, corn, cotton, rapeseed and sugar beets. More

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

US: Walmart stores to test skinny potatoes

A small product is about to get a potentially giant boost. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.—the largest retailer in the U.S.—is expected to begin testing the Skinny Potato this month, says Scott McDulin, vice president of Schmieding Produce Co. in Springdale, Ark. “I talked to [Walmart’s] category manager two weeks ago, and he loved the idea,” says McDulin, who added that the test will be in Walmart stores served by the retailer’s Dallas distribution center. The idea behind the Skinny Potato is a response to the fact that some consumers have shied away from russet potatoes while trying to cut carbs. McDulin says most russets packed in 5-pound bags are 5 to 9 ounces each. The 100-calorie Skinny Potato offers smaller portions, with 4- to 6-ounce potatoes. More

Egyptian potatoes imported by Syria to tackle high prices

In order to ensure that the needs of the domestic market are met and to put an end to the dramatic increase of prices caused by the Syrian crisis, a batch of 5 thousand tonnes of Egyptian potatoes has been shipped and will be distributed in a number of provinces. A source from the Ministry of Commerce has reported that the cause of the high potato prices in the Syrian market is the lower domestic production, as well as the rising demand for potatoes. The source has also pointed out that the importation of potatoes will stop in late March, which is when a new domestic campaign is expected to kick off. It is worth noting that, before the onset of the crisis, the Syrian market had enjoyed near self-sufficiency. (Source:

UK: Isle of Ely Produce ventures into fresh washed potatoes

Traditionally known for processed potatoes for the food service industry and fish and chip sector, UK company Isle of Ely Produce, have ventured into the world of fresh washed potatoes. According to Oliver Boutwood, Commercial Director at the company, “Under the Oliver brand we do boxed baker potatoes and salad potatoes.” This is not a new innovation, there are a lot of people doing it, but as our company is getting bigger we feel the need to branch out into new categories and to add value to our potatoes. Our customers are now also asking for the products.” A majority of Isle of Ely’s potatoes are sourced in the UK, but they also source from France, Israel and Spain. “We are trying to develop export markets in the Nordic countries and the Far and Middle East, such as Dubai and Singapore. We see opportunities for our products outside the UK.” More on FreshPlaza

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

‘FailChips’ want you to enjoy the “best” part of potato chips: The crumbs

unspecified-4Many modern-day snackers claim the best part of a bag of potato chips to be the crumbs left behind, after all the chips have been devoured. ‘FailChips’ is cashing in on that notion with its new line of packaged pieces. FailChips are essentially standard, flavored potato chips ‘crushed to imperfection’ and bagged for your salt-craving pleasure. The idea for the product dances along the line between “gourmet snack fads” and “authentic foodie culture,” that is, according to its parent, MailChimp. The company has partnered up with VICE Media to explore the intersection of these subjects in VICE’s newest documentary, FailChips, with the examination of potato chips as a whole being the focus at hand. More. Watch video

Videos: Manitoba Potato Production Days – A venue for retailers in Canada to promote latest in potato production products and equipment

Manitoba Potato Production days is an annual event in Canada that provides a venue for retailers to promote the latest in potato production products and equipment. The latest event took place January 24 – 26 in the province of Manitoba. Follow the links below and watch the videos to hear about the newest service and product offerings, how they work and who benefits.
Learn about the RiteTrace Fully Automated Track & Trace System: Bill Menkveld from Greentronics walks you through this new system from harvest, unloading, through the grading line, to precise locations in storage. Watch video
Discover the Automation of potato packing facilities: Harm Geurs and Peter Rozendaal have you covered from automation, bagging, factory 4.0, robotics, and more. Watch video
Discover Atom-Jet’s Potato Hiller Tines: Listen to Terry Drayson as he discusses how Atom-Jet’s innovative agricultural tools are built to last. Watch video
More videos are available on the Spud Smart magazine web site, including presentations by Omex, BASF Canada, Meridian, Canadian Food Grains Bank, Mooij Agro, and more. Visit this page to access the videos.

Canada, US: Chips gone wild

In the summer of 2015, Peter and Chris Neal were in the heart of barbecue country – Texas – talking about a distinctly Canadian dry-rub: Montreal steak spice. The co-founders of Toronto-based Neal Brothers Foods were meeting with executives at Whole Foods’ head office in Austin, arranging an exclusive deal that would see Neal Brothers’ kettle-style, non-GMO chips sold in more than 300 Whole Foods in the United States. “We asked if there was [a flavour] they were looking for and one of the guys said, ‘I would love Montreal steak spice,” recalls Peter Neal. “I said, ‘Really? Is that a thing?’” So I called friends and family in the U.S., put something on Facebook and got an overwhelming response from people saying, ‘Yeah, we’ve got Montreal steak spice in our cabinet.’” Fast-forward to September 2016 when Montreal Steak Spice did indeed become a thing, joining Neal Brothers’ lineup of unique chip flavours, including Maple Bacon; Srirachup, a mix of ketchup and sriracha; Sweet & Smoky BBQ; Pink Himalayan Salt; and Vij’s Delhi-Licious, made with a garam masala spice blend. More

McDonald’s adding new french fry flavor just for Japan based on nostalgic student snack

di-1Fast food giant is looking to school its rivals with new “college potato” fries. To succeed in the Japanese fast food industry, you’ve got to continually present people with new reasons to come through your doors. Just rolling out new main dishes isn’t enough, either. If you really want to stay ahead of your competitors, you need to regularly shake up your side order menu too. In pursuit of such innovation, we’ve seen McDonald’s Japan offer french fries with chocolate and pumpkin sauces. Now, the chain is getting ready to start selling a brand-new French fry creation, although it’s one that draws inspiration from Japanese comfort food. Going on sale next week are McDonald’s Japan’s daigaku imo french fries. Daigaku imo, literally meaning “college potato,” is a popular sweet potato snack with a sweet sauce, and allegedly gets its unusual name from being a hit with cash-strapped students looking for a cheap yet tasty way to quell their hunger between regular meals. 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

Australia: Fast growing fresh cut potato market

The Australian potato industry has been suffering from a short supply recently, but according to reports this week things are about to improve as the crop comes on line. South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales were significantly affected but Queensland got off a bit lighter. According to Kerri Lamb from Wickham Farms, “we are farmers, we just persevere. We are growers so we have control over our supply chain, we can supply our customers although we don’t have excess stock.” Wickham Farms grows in different locations across Queensland for the Queensland market. The company grows about 6000 tons for Coles supermarkets and also supply fresh prepared potatoes for caterers, food service and food manufacturers. “The fresh prepared market has been growing quickly in the last few years and now we grow varieties specifically for this market. It is more economical for businesses to buy pre-prepared potatoes especially if they are using consistently large volumes,” according to Kerri. More

UK: Manor Fresh potato supplier sees growth in 2017

Newly filed results for Manor Fresh, a potato supplier, revealed turnover topped £60.3m for the year to 30 April 2016, compared to £57.1m a year earlier. Pre-tax profit also increased to £1.6m from £1.4m. The company upgraded its potato packing facility in Spalding in its 2014/15 financial year and has continued to invest in people and processes, which it said “contributed significantly” to its performance in the year under review. The UK’s potato harvest in 2015 totalled 5.4 million tonnes, down from 5.7 million tonnes, but Manor Fresh said the “overall quality, availability and values” remained relatively stable. It added that the sale of green vegetables was “particularly strong” due to customers’ awareness of the health benefits of unprocessed vegetables. Source:

UK: Morrisons buys Farmcare potato operations

PotatoesMorrisons has acquired Farmcare’s Carnoustie potato packhouse in a deal that will see Farmcare supply the retailer with potatoes and other products. The news comes as Farmcare announced last year that the Carnoustie site had entered a period of consultation with staff after a significant packing contract was not renewed. The purchase also boosts Morrisons’ UK food manufacturing sites to 17, while Farmcare CEO Richard Quinn said it is “a strong strategic fit” with his business. Carnoustie will be used to store, grade, pack and procure potatoes for Morrisons customers, and Farmcare will also supply the business from across its 11 sites across the country, a statement said. Morrisons said it now intends to commence TUPE discussions with Farmcare Carnoustie staff as part of the agreement. Farmcare has 11 estates across the country and will supply potatoes and a range of other produce to Morrisons. More

Australia: ‘We can’t get any’: Canberra takeaway shops battle potato scallop shortage

Owner of The Corner Takeaway at Queanbeyan, Steve Salmon. The shop has not had any potato scallops since October.A wet spring, including severe storms and floods, resulted in crop damage and harvesting delays on potato farms throughout Australia. And an unlikely result of the harsh conditions has meant Canberra is currently experiencing potato scallop shortage. And it’s proving to be quite an annoyonce for takeaway shop owners throughout the capital. “Probably a lot of them have given up,” Watson Takeaway owner Kerry Spanos sighed. “A lot of the shops are buying them frozen now. The prices have gone through the roof.” Bidfood, which supplies 80 per cent of takeaway shops in Canberra, has been without potato scallops for about two months. Sales manager Nick Moullakis explained a good quality potato scallop required a large potato – a rare commodity. “They slice the potato, then they batter it, then they blanche it, then when the customer comes in they re-fry it – that’s it,” he said. “The mashed one is like the McCains product which is popular in places like food courts. They had their time in the ’80s and ’90s and it’s not very popular.” More

McDonald’s are selling curly fries for a limited time only in Japan

Now, McDonald’s has delighted fast food fans by adding curly fries, which are coated in a special spicy seasoning, to its menu. Twister Fries were unveiled in 2015 and they proved so popular the burger joint has decided to bring them back for a limited time only. But there is one pretty expensive catch – the potato treat is only on sale in Japan. Twister Fries arrived back on the McDonald’s Japan menu this month, after previously popping up in 2015 for one month. This time around they’ll only be available in Japan from now until early February. More

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: Gloomy outlook for potatoes

“We are coming out of a season with superb growing conditions in Idaho and Washington state,” says Marc Turner with Bushwick Commission Company. Idaho sets the tone as it is the largest growing state. “Because of great yields and high quality, everyone in the industry is now working with oversupply and low prices,” Turner added. “Going into the new season, the market was low to begin with due to spillover volume from the 2015 harvest.“ Although other pockets of the country didn’t have as much oversupply, volumes out of Idaho and Washington overshadow other states. Given that potatoes are available year-round without a supply gap, Turner’s outlook is a steady situation with low prices. He compared the potato industry to the onion sector. “With onions, prices are low as well. It’s probably even worse, but at least it is a seasonal business,” he mentioned. “Supplies usually finish up in spring and the outlook beyond spring looks more positive.

Continue reading

Sustainability Report: Potato processor Lamb Weston / Meijer continues to innovate

Lamb Weston’s European joint venture, Lamb Weston / Meijer has published its sustainability report for 2015-2016. This sustainability report shows that Potato Processor Lamb Weston / Meijer is well on its way to achieving the sustainability objectives it has formulated for 2020. Over the last two years the company has made a number of significant investments to support those ambitions. Compared to the reference year 2008, energy consumption per tonne of product has reduced by more than 21% and potato utilisation has improved by 4.5%. Furthermore, Lamb Weston / Meijer pre-fries more than 82% of its products in a healthier frying oil. On an annual basis this equals a reduction of 9.6 million kilos of saturated fat through its products.  Continue reading

Bob Evans Foods agrees to buy the Pineland Farms Potato Company in Maine

Bob Evans Foods agrees to buy the Pineland Farms Potato Company in MainePineland Farms Potato Company, Inc. (PFPC), located in Mars Hill, Maine confirmed the signing of a Stock Purchase Agreement with Bob Evans Foods (BEF) of New Albany, Ohio. Under the Agreement, BEF will acquire 100% of the stock of PFPC. The Agreement, signed January 23, 2017 anticipates closing the transaction on or about April 28, 2017. Bill Haggett, Chairman and CEO of Pineland Farms Potato Company, reported that the company which specializes in state of the art production of top quality refrigerated potato products in various forms, has had excellent, high volume business relationships with Bob Evans Foods dating back to 2002. Since repurchasing the business in 2010, Pineland Farms Potato Company has enjoyed a continuous period of rapid growth and steadily improving earnings. Its owners have committed substantial annual investments to: expand the facilities, virtually triple production capacity, reduce operating costs and increase employment. 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