Blame the European heat wave for pricier fish and chips

Image result for fish and chipsThe record-breaking heatwave and lack of rain across Europe has hurt potato crops, with prices tripling in the U.K. in August from a year earlier. That’s forced fish and chip shops to charge more for a portion of fries that form one half of the traditional British staple. Further price hikes loom, said Andrew Crook, president of the federation representing more than 10,000 fish and chip shops across the UK. “It’s going to be a disaster for us this year,” said Crook. “I’ve never seen prices of potatoes be that high at this time of the year. We are getting squeezed.” With Europe accounting for eight of the 10 biggest potato eating nations, there’s likely to be fierce competition for the starchy tubers this season. “We will be fighting for potatoes with Europe,” said Crook, the president of the National Federation of Fish Friers. “There are not enough potatoes to go around, and everything is quite small.” Read more

Europe: French fries feel the pinch as hot summer frazzles potato market

file6ucrflv77s7cmsp8kic.jpgWhether you call them chips, frites or French fries, it’s shaping up to be a bad year for potato lovers. The record-breaking heatwave and lack of rain across Europe has hurt potato crops, with prices tripling in the UK in August from a year earlier. That’s forced fish and chip shops to charge more for a portion of fries that form one half of the traditional British staple. Further price hikes loom, said Andrew Crook, president of the federation representing more than 10,000 fish and chip shops across the country. “It’s going to be a disaster for us this year,” said Crook, who started helping in the family chippy at the age of nine. “I’ve never seen prices of potatoes be that high at this time of the year. We are getting squeezed.” In the UK, a metric ton of fresh potatoes surged to 300 pounds (S$536.32) last month, the third-highest on records going back to the 1950s. Read more

McCain to hike prices as Britain’s potato product prices set to soar

The price of chips, crisps and other potato products is set to soar due to scorching temperatures in recent months that have damaged crops. Frozen chip maker McCain is understood to be hiking the price paid by supermarkets as much as 20 per cent as farmers struggle with major potato shortages following a two-month heatwave. Family favourites such as Walkers Crisps and potato waffle maker Birds Eye are also thought to mulling price increases. With production down, frozen potato supplier McCain’s will reportedly increase prices by 20% at the start of September in anticipation of the supply fall. And while this subsector has recently undercut total food inflation, other suppliers will likely follow suit. So the major grocers will face tough decisions should supplier prices rise. ‘Personally, I think the price rise from McCain is two months premature since volumes won’t be significantly affected until November,’ a source told Fresh Produce Journal. Read more

Walmart helps Idaho tackle cause of rejected potato loads

igsa18-karst-08-Mike-ThorntonUniversity of Idaho researchers are working with Walmart to look at the reasons behind rejected or downgraded potato loads at the chain’s distribution centers. Nora Olsen, professor and extension specialist at the University of Idaho, and Mike Thornton, professor of plant science at the university, explained their efforts in a Aug. 29 session at the Idaho Grower Shippers Association annual meeting. Thornton said the research began about a year and a half ago when the Idaho Potato Commission inquired how the industry could reduce quality issues on arrival. Large retailers, including Walmart, indicate that quality problems tend to happen when shippers switch from russet norkotahs to russet burbanks and when growers transition from old crop to new crop potatoes, he said. Finding solutions is important not only to reduce rejections but to also deliver better quality potatoes to consumers who may see bruising when they take potatoes home from the store, Thornton said. Read more

German breeding company Solana presents new potato varieties

Breeding company Solana GmbH, headquartered in Hamburg, will present some new and already successful potato varieties at the Weuthen Potato Day on August 30th. “In order to breed new resistant and high-yielding potato varieties for different cultivation regions and climatic zones, forward-looking breeding goals and some heavy staying power are crucial, in addition to genetic know-how,” says managing partner Leo von Kameke, explaining the success of the Solana varieties. On the Potato Day, the new varieties Baby Lou and Pocahontas will be presented, in addition to a series of successful and market-proven Solana varieties. Baby Lou is a mid-early, hard-boiling, very high-setting (about 30-50 tubers/perennial), storable and tasty table potato. It is predestined for the 45 mm triplet packaging market. Pocahontas is a mid-early, storable, solid-boiling premium potato with very high market yields and an excellent taste. Read more

US: Wada-Genesis partnership bringing year-round organic potatoes

Image result for genesis organicsWada Farms Marketing Group has strategically partnered with premier organic packer Genesis Organics located in southern Idaho. This new exclusive partnership provides new avenues for growth in the organic potato category with most notable being a longer supply availability to service all retail and foodservice industries on a year-round basis. “The demand for organic produce continues to grow in an exponential fashion. Customers are asking for more organic options when it comes to potatoes, and we are proud to be able to respond to that demand,” said Kevin Stanger, president of Wada Farms Marketing. “This new partnership will further enhance our ability to be a one-stop shop pertaining to all things organic and conventional in the potato world. We’re taking the pressure off buyers having to source from multiple locations throughout the year. At the end of the day, we can provide fresh organic options with efficient, convenient supply chain solutions.” Read The Packer report

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi is stepping down

Image result for Indra Nooyi frito Pepsi CEOIndra Nooyi, 62, will make way for company insider Ramon Laguarta, a 22-year PepsiCo veteran, but she will remain chairwoman until early 2019, the company said. Joining Pepsico as a young executive, she was promoted to chief financial officer (CFO) in 2001 and was named CEO in 2006. “Leading PepsiCo has truly been the honor of my lifetime, and I’m incredibly proud of all we have done over the past 12 years to advance the interests not only of shareholders, but all our stakeholders in the communities we serve,” said Nooyi. During her dozen years at the helm, Nooyi led PepsiCo’s transition from a seller of sugary soft drinks and sodas and fatty foods to a greener more health and environment conscious company even at the risk of hurting its bottomline, although some critics saw her effort as inadequate. She reclassified PepsiCo’s products into three categories: “fun for you” (such as potato chips and regular soda), “better for you” (diet or low-fat versions of snacks and sodas), and “good for you” (items such as oatmeal). Read more

US: Retail volume of fresh potatoes drops in June, especially russets

Overall potato volumes sold at U.S. retailers slipped in June compared to a year ago the same month, but with an almost %5 increase in price per-pound, values increased slightly. That includes fresh and processed categories; fresh sales volumes alone dropped 5.9%. The June 2018/18 comparison by Potatoes USA showed volume of retail sales dropped 3.2%, but overall value of the category rose 1.1%. Factors leading to the decline, according to Potatoes USA, were drops in: Fresh, down 5.9%; deli sides, down 11.4%; potato chips and canned potatoes, down 1% and 3.6%; respectively. Frozen and refrigerated potato products were up 2.6% and 2%, respectively. Heavier bags of potatoes declined, with 10-pound bags seeing a 15.4% drop, and heavier bags down 12.7%. Read The Packer report

Dutch retail chain working to boost sustainability and biodiversity in the Netherlands

Image result for Albert Heijn: wild about potato sustainabilityDutch retailer Albert Heijn has signed a cooperation agreement with some of the Netherlands’ largest agricultural companies to enhance biodiversity around potato production in the country and boost the industry’s sustainability. The group’s vice-president for produce, canned food, flowers and plants Said Belhassan was on hand to underline its commitment during a special signing ceremony, joining representatives from leading potato companies Agrico, Leo de Kock and Nedato, and supported by consultancy firm CLM and Natuurmonumenten, a group that acquires and protects nature reserves. The project will see Natuurmonumenten send special teams to help growers improve the natural environment by creating special grassy areas on the edges of their potato fields that increase the presence of wild flowers, birds and insects.  Continue reading

Salty facts: American salty snacks market to reach $29 billion by 2022; dominated by Frito-Lay

Related imageHow Americans eat has evolved to match the frequently hurried, harried and hectic lifestyles of today’s consumers, says market research firm Packaged Facts. That shift has been a boon to convenient food options, including salty snacks such as potato chips, popcorn and pretzels. In its new report, “Salty Snacks: U.S. Market Trends and Opportunities,” Packaged Facts estimates retail dollar sales of the U.S. salty snacks industry at $24 billion in 2017, expected to exceed $29 billion in 2022. Despite competition from other snacks, such as chocolate and non-chocolate confections, cookies and crackers, the outlook for salty snacks remains bright. Future growth is expected to come from products that are as flavorful as possible but also as healthy and nutritious as possible. The report shows that PepsiCo controls about 60% of retail sales in the American salty snacks market through its Frito-Lay division. The Shelby Report. Also read report by Potato Business

HZPC: Growing demand for organic potatoes encourages breeding

Image result for Growing demand for organic potatoes encourages breedingOrganic potatoes are on the rise, especially now that the large supermarkets have embraced the product. But what to do against the dreaded disease Phytophthora‘The market share of organic products is growing rapidly. In the Dutch supermarkets, turnover is increasing by 10 percent annually, but the potato is lagging behind’, says Edith Lammerts van Bueren, professor of organic plant breeding. She has been working on the improvement of organic vegetable and potato cultivation for decades. Potato fields cannot do without crop protection. Traditional growers spray against Phytophthora, or late blight, at least once a week. According to the professor, at least 20% of the organic farmers stopped growing potato between 2000 and 2007. ‘They could no longer cope with the intense waves of this disease.’ There are now a handful of varieties available that are resistant to late blight. However, the ‘technical’ restriction of these varieties is that they contain only one resistance gene. Breeder Peter Vos of HZPC is concerned. Read more 

US frozen potato exports up 8% in April; fresh exports down 33%

Related imageAccording to data released by Potatoes USA, exports of frozen potato products increased 8% in volume and 9% in value in April 2018 compared to April 2017. Dehy exports were up 21% in volume and 21% in value. Fresh exports were down 33% in volume and 13% in value. Frozen exports are up 1% for the July – June marketing year through April, with dehy up 5% year to date and fresh up 5% for the marketing year. The decline in fresh sales volume was driven by russets, down 10.3%. On the positive side red sales were up 2.1%, whites up 5%, medleys up 40% and purples up 7.2%. Continue reading

Following the trend: Californian company goes all-in on organic potatoes

Image result for Top Brass goes all-in on organic potatoesTop Brass Produce, based in Bakersfield, CA, is the official sales agent for Vignolo Farms, which is celebrating its 80th birthday this year. “We have been farming organic grapes and potatoes for several years and are committed to organics,” said Brett Dixon, president of Top Brass. “The largest news this year is that we converted 100 percent of our potato business to organics. Now we only grow and sell organic potatoes out of the central valley of California. We offer red, yellow, and russet potatoes. Thankfully potatoes are trending up and have been for Top Brass,” Dixon said. According to him, it just made too much sense not to go in this direction. With the upcoming Organic Produce Summit on its schedule, some of Top Brass’ leaders are looking forward to meeting with their colleagues and customers to talk about why the company decided to move away from conventional potatoes and focus exclusively on organic.“It has been extremely rewarding to see consumers embrace organic produce,” Dixon said. Read more

Cool move: Albert Bartlett ventures into chilled potato market; set to open new production plant

Related imageAlbert Bartlett, based in Scotland, is venturing further into the prepared potato market with the development of several chilled potato products. Having already entered the frozen potato market in 2015, the potato supplier is now set to open a new chilled plant at the company headquarters in Airdrie in September. Creating 50 new jobs, the factory will have capability to process 50,000t of potatoes for sale at retail and foodservice. This equates to roughly a third of the current total prepared market. Albert Bartlett confirmed it had already won a three-year contract with one of the big four supermarkets for its new range, but preferred not to specify which. As well as buttery mash, the plant is likely to produce other dishes such as cheesy mash, root veg mash and Colcannon. Potatoes for the new products will be supplied by Albert Bartlett’s group of 85 growers, with producers in Scotland accounting for around 90 per cent of the potatoes used. The move represents a major development for the potato producer, which processes a fifth of the fresh potatoes sold in the UK. Read more

Pick-a-choose your Big Mac: Burger and fry chain to add more customer choice and variety

Love the sauce? Wait for it ...As McDonald’s seeks to modernize its business, the company is placing a big bet on mobile and other tech platforms, including mobile phones. McDonald’s has been systematically adding self-service ordering kiosks and table service to stores as it works to “build a better McDonald’s.” “What we’re finding is when people dwell more, they select more,” CEO Steve Easterbrook told CNBC on “Squawk on the Street” on Monday. In fact, the company plans to upgrade 1,000 stores with this technology every quarter for the next eight to nine quarters. International markets like Canada, Australia and the U.K. are already fully integrated with kiosk service and mobile ordering. “We’re introducing many options,” Esterbrook said. “Customers can order through mobile, they can come curbside and we’ll run it out as well as the existing traditional ways. You can pay in different ways and customize your food in different ways. I think we’re trying to add more choice and variety.” Read the full report on CNBC