What can caterers do to rehabilitate the potato, cash in on its plus points? Advice from leading companies

Bannisters' Farm cheese and bacon-filled potato skins

In an article written for The Caterer, author Anne Bruce writes: “The potato may not enjoy the health kudos of other vegetables, but caterers can turn its enormous versatility and widespread popularity to good account by developing premium products that boost consumer spend. Where would a restaurant be without potatoes? …So what can caterers do to rehabilitate the potato, cash in on its plus points and get maximum value from potato-based products?” Bruce interviewed spokespeople from several leading potato companies in the UK and Ireland on their viewpoints. Nigel Phillips, UK & Ireland country sales manager at potato supplier Lamb Weston, says potatoes are a great host for all sorts of toppings and can benefit from trends such as street food. Mohammed Essa, general manager of Aviko UK & Ireland, says the biggest margins will be made on innovative, premium products that give customers value for money, and something different from what they would eat at home. Convenience remains key to operators when using potatoes, says supplier Farm FritesContinue reading

‘Meat attack’ – Meat snacks clock faster growth than potato chips, says Mintel

Image result for snack attack chips  funnyMeat snacks are the third biggest category of salty snacks in the US and also the fastest-growing sub-segment, according to Mintel. research figures Sales of meat snacks – such as jerky, pork scratchings, salami sticks, kabanosy (Polish pork sausage) and biltong (a spicy South African dried meat snack) – are on the rise as consumers search for high protein, low carb snacks, reported the market researcher. Value sales in the US grew over 6% between 2015 and 2016, following a 12% growth between 2014 and 2015. Dollar sales of meat snacks at $3.3bn still lagged behind potato chips – ($8.2bn) in 2016 – but meat snack sales growth well surpassed that of potato chips (which was up 1.3% between 2015 and 2016). IRI and Mintel data also pointed to volume growth of 11% in the UK, making meat snacks one of the fastest growing segments in the UK snack market, second only to popcorn; while, in Germany, consumers of meat snacks rose from 8% in 2012 to 24% in 2016. More

Nielsen research confirms that microwaveable category is strong and leading US brand is outpacing competition

A recent study on the microwaveable/steamable fresh potato segment conducted by Nielsen FreshFacts® highlights the continuing positive performance of this segment led by Side Delights® Steamables™ – which accounts for more than half of all dollar sales in the category. Potatoes still lead as the #1 ranked vegetable based on volume sales, and the microwavable/steamable potato segment growth trend continues – up 12.6% in volume sales and up 28.4% in dollar sales versus last year. Side Delights® Steamables dominate with 62% of the dollar share and 63% of the volume share in the segment despite a comparatively smaller product grouping than the competition (6 items for Side Delights® Steamables versus 25 items for the competition). Additionally, Side Delights® Steamables’ dollar velocity outpaced the competition, selling faster than any of the other brands. The top two selling Side Delights® Steamables items (in dollar and volume) are the Red and Golden potatoes, which increased their distribution 18.2% and 15.8% respectively vs YAGO. Side Delights® Steamables are available exclusively through the Fresh Solutions Network. Continue reading

‘A dedicated focus on kids’ the reason for Potato Corner’s global french fry success, says CEO

ABS/CBN News reports from Manila in the Philippines that Potato Corner CEO Joe Magsaysay built the french fries brand into a global franchise business with annual sales of P1 billion. The business today has more than 500 outlets in the Philippines and around the world. In a publication by the Asian Institute of Management, where he obtained a masters degree in entrepreneurship, Magsaysay shared how he, as a 25-year-old food cart pioneer, succeeded in his quest. “If you want a brand to stick, market it to kids,” Magsaysay said, adding that the current millennial customers of Potato Corner are the same children who bought his products when it started 24 years ago. “When you market to teenagers and adults, they will shift to the next big thing. But kids? No, once you get them, they’re yours for life,” he said.  Continue reading

Irish retailer SuperValu expects to sell EUR32m potatoes this season

Leading Irish grocery retailer SuperValu expects to sell EUR32m in homegrown Irish potatoes this season, according to an announcement made on July 20. Wexford brothers John and Chris Fortune (pictured), second-generation farmers based in Kilmore, Co. Wexford, grow the new season potatoes. As long-standing suppliers to SuperValu for the last 15 years, the Fortune brothers have been growing Irish potatoes on their family farm for over 30 years. John and Chris also supply SuperValu with baby salad potatoes and are one of the few Irish famers who specialize in growing and harvesting baby potato crops. Martin Kelleher, managing director at SuperValu, said: “As the number one supporter of the Irish agro-food industry, SuperValu is committed to delivering high quality locally-sourced Irish produce to consumers. SuperValu works with more Irish suppliers than any other retailer in the country…” More

Numbers suggest sustainability sells produce

Image result for sustainabilityThe numbers show sustainability sells produce, said Andrew Mandzy, director of strategic insight with New York-based Nielsen, which tracks retail sales trends. “Many consumers are trying to be responsible citizens of the world, and they expect the same from corporations, so when it comes to purchasing, they are doing their homework,” Mandzy said. Before they make buying decisions, shoppers check labels, glean websites for business and manufacturing practices and pay attention to public opinion on specific brands in the news or on social media, he said. The industry is responding, but the direction of change isn’t always clear, grower-shippers say. “One of the most difficult things in terms of a comprehensive program continues to be the lack of clarity relative to our customers’ expectations,” said Eric Halverson, executive vice president of technology with Grand Forks, N.D.-based potato grower-shipper Black Gold Farms. More

US: Potandon is ‘one-stop shop for foodservice potatoes and onions’

Image result for potandonPotandon Produce LLC, which is headquartered in Idaho Falls, ID, has “the largest dedicated supply base in the industry” for potatoes and onions, “with shipping locations in all key growing areas,” according to Dick Thomas, vice president of sales and marketing. “Therefore, we can provide all of our customers with a year-round one-stop shop for all major varieties of potatoes and onions,” he told The Produce News in a June 20 interview. The company’s customer base includes retail, wholesale, and foodservice accounts, “and you need strength in all of those areas to move your crop and get the best return for your grower base,” said Stephanie Bench, director of foodservice. Potandon will be showcasing its full product line at the PMA Foodservice expo in Monterey, CA, July 30, she said. Potandon supplies its customers “52 weeks out of the year” with “availability mainly out of Idaho, so we can consolidate all of those items on a truck for you,” she added. The company has a quality assurance team “that goes to all of our facilities” in all producing areas to make sure the quality measures ups to Potandon standards, she said. More

US: Fast food makes its biggest change since the drive-thru

Restaurants often lag other industries in adopting new technology, lacking the time or budget for massive digital overhauls. But as industry sales have slowed recently, smartphone conveniences have found their way into the world of burgers and fries. Many in the industry are betting that its future lies in that technology — in large part through mobile orders, payments and delivery. Mobile ordering and delivery from the likes of McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, Wendy’s and Burger King mark the biggest change in the way people order fast food since the drive-thru. As that change ripples through the industry, restaurants are facing down questions like how to preserve margins, avoid parking-lot traffic jams, and keep French fries crispy once they enter the balmy ecosphere of the delivery bag. Just as the drive-thru accommodated generations shaped by mass-market car culture, the new digital efforts cater to a new cohort of fast-food customers shaped by e-commerce, social media, smartphones, streaming video and, in one way or another, a lack of time. Report by Investors Business Daily

Northern Ireland: Potato supplier adds to convenience range

Potato supplier adds to convenience rangeNorthern Irish potato supplier Wilson’s Country has added sweet potato chips and baby potatoes with garlic butter to its ‘You Say Potato’ branded convenience range. The County Armagh-based firm said the new launches are part of its focus on the UK convenience market, where it is currently seeing double-digit growth. Sold in pouches, the Sweet Potato Chips are £1.50 for 350g, while the Baby Potatoes are £1 for a 450g pack. MD Lewis Cunningham said: “Consumers want convenience, when it comes to all their cooking practices. And potatoes are no different in this regard. Our You Say Potato brand is proving a substantial success for the business, and we are keen to grow sales in Britain, our most important target market.” More

US: McDonald’s installs kiosks instead of workers

The self-service McDonalds kiosks are already rumored to be replacing all hourly wage cash register employees in 2,500 restaurants.The next time you head up to the counter to order a Big Mac and some fries, don’t be surprised if there’s something missing: a smiling face. McDonald’s is reportedly moving away from human employees with an automated self-check out system that lets patrons place their own orders, pay for their meals, and then retrieve the prepared food items. The self-service kiosks, which are already rumored to be replacing all hourly wage cash register employees in 2,500 restaurants, are expected to spread even further with 3,000 locations in 2018. By the end of 2017, an anticipated 14,000 McDonald’s locations will offer the self-service option, streamlining both sales and order processes in what they anticipate to be approximately an entire percentage point – from 2% to 3% – increase on same store sales forecast. The issue is a hotly contested one in the United States where McDonald’s is headquartered. More

More British crisps coming to the United States: Pipers Crisps potato chips

More British Crisps coming to the United States: Pipers Crisps Potato ChipsThe award-winning British Pipers Crisps potato chips will now be enjoyed by more Americans. It is the newest brand to partner with the Liberty Richter division of World Finer Foods, a premier marketer of imported and domestic specialty foods in the U.S. Pipers Crisp Co. was founded by three British farmers with the aim of making potato chips just as they should taste. And, since they began in 2004, UK potato chip fans haven’t been able to get enough of Pipers Crisp Co. specialty chips. These are hand-fried at the optimal temperature and duration for perfect crispness, then dressed with authentic, sustainably-sourced seasonings from around the world. These include spices from India, herbs from Morocco, cheese, charcuterie and cider from England. More

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 (www.ipita.ru). 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