US: Unique potato marketing effort enjoying success

Image result for Fresh Solutions NetworkThe concept of produce growers banding together for marketing purposes but keeping their own identity is relatively unique, but it is working quite well for eight potato grower-shippers spread out across the United States and Canada. Fresh Network Solutions, LLC and its Side Delights® brand of fresh potatoes are moving into its second decade of existence with a full slate of eight partners and more than a couple of dozen SKUs including many unique value-added options ranging from potato kits to fresh-cuts to organics. “We’ve hit our stride with our membership,” said Kathleen Triou, Chief Executive Officer and President of the San Francisco-based marketing organization.  “Any more partners and we would be redundant in some areas; any less and we wouldn’t have national coverage.” Triou said the group represents a significant percentage of fresh U.S. potato supply in aggregate, which gives it sufficient volume to negotiate with the largest retailers in the county on year-round programs. Triou believes that Fresh Solutions Network has its collective finger on the pulse of the North American shopper. “We see continued opportunities in the convenience sector of the category,” she said. More

Irish-made Keogh’s Crisps secure major contract with the largest international airline in the world

Derek, Tom and Ross Keogh at the launch of Keogh's crisps on Keogh's Farm, Oldtown. BELOW: Brothers,Keogh’s Crisps of North Dublin has secured a major contract with Emirates, the largest international airline in the world, which will see an estimated one million bags being served onboard annually. The premium Irish brand will be available to First Class passengers only and was selected by the Emirates  Group following a blind tasting of 15 different brands, of which Keogh’s came out top. The Irish-made crisps will be served onboard Emirates flights as part of the airline’s First Class Hot Sandwiches and Snacks service and as an accompaniment to drinks. The announcement was made today at Marketplace International, Bord Bia’s annual food buyer event in Dublin, where the two brands were first introduced in 2016. More

How can tech bring the supply chain of tomorrow to the food industry of today?

The global food supply chain is plagued by billions of tons of food waste due to inefficient sorting and grading systems. And the wealth of data available from millions of devices throughout the supply chain isn’t being integrated and connected to optimize production. The future is bright. As technology becomes more advanced across these areas, the global food industry will become far more efficient and effective. But what innovations are coming, and how will they bring the future of food industry to the supply chain of today? Here are some of the key technologies and processes that businesses will see more and more in coming years: Article by Greg Saint James, strategic marketing director, TOMRA Food. More

The russet still Idaho’s Goliath potato, but its colorful David challengers making headway

Colorful SouthWind fingerlings vertical IMG_0718Move over, russets. When you shop in a supermarket produce section or order from a fine-dining restaurant menu, you’ll see small, colorful potatoes and fingerlings vying for your attention. That’s making an impact on Idaho’s iconic potato-growing industry, which is noticing the little spuds’ rising prices and profit potential. Russets still dominate, with 92 percent of Idaho’s potato crop and 71 percent nationwide devoted to the familiar brown spud. Smaller potatoes, which include varieties sold fresh but also used for French fries and potato chips, account for 8 percent of Idaho acres planted and 29 percent nationally. because the small potatoes carry a premium price, their share of the overall potato market in dollars has increased to 15 percent, from 10 percent four years ago, according to Potandon Produce, a large Idaho shipper. Small potatoes became popular in Europe decades ago and have made inroads in the United States over the past 20 years. More

US retail shows surprising russet gains; ‘mini’ potatoes keep climbing in sales

Reversing recent market share erosion, potato category leader fresh russet potatoes showed modest volume gains in July through December. “We are seeing growth in categories we haven’t seen growth in for a while, which has been nice,” said Ross Johnson, global marketing manager for Potatoes USA, Denver. “We haven’t seen (russets) grow for a long time.” In visits across the U.S., Johnson said Potatoes USA has been working with retailers to help them take advantage of how the potato category can drive produce department profits. “I think there is an understanding (retailers) need to focus more on the potato category to help it grow even stronger.” Johnson said spuds help drive sales of other foods that can be paired with potatoes. From the middle of 2014 to the middle of 2017, the “mini” category has almost doubled, reaching nearly 16% of potato category sales, Ralph Schwartz, vice present of sales for Potandon Produce said  “No one is sure what the overall percent of the category it is going to capture but it keeps climbing,” he said. More

Why Frito-Lay North America is PepsiCo’s most valuable segment

Image result for frito lay north americaFrito-Lay North America is PepsiCo‘s branded food and snack businesses in the United States and Canada. In FY 2017, while the segment contributed to roughly a quarter of the company’s revenues, its share of the total operating profit was 42%, similar to its performance in 2016. According to estimates, 38% of PepsiCo’s valuation comes from this division, which has posted an average annual revenue growth of 3% in the past three years, and an average 3-year operating profit improvement of 6%. Moreover, the company was the largest contributor to the total U.S. food and beverage retail growth among all $5 billion-plus manufacturers. If that isn’t impressive enough, the segment also boasts of owning the top 7 brands in salty snacks. The snacks business is almost twice as profitable as the beverage business for PepsiCo. One of the growth drivers for this segment is the healthy snacks portfolio. These are more premium products, and hence, greater sales of these should provide a boost to the margins from this segment, as well. Read the Forbes report

‘I will pay a premium for Irish potatoes,’ says fast-food mogul

‘I will pay a premium for Irish potatoes’ – Pat ‘Supermac’ McDonaghSupermac’s supremo Pat McDonagh says the time has come to put Irish potatoes back on the map. Despite the iconic role the potato crop has played in Irish history, domestic potato production has decreased from 332,000ha in 1850; to just over 9,000ha today. Each year Ireland imports an estimated 50,000t of potatoes; with businessman McDonagh using up approximately 50t on a weekly basis to supply his multi-million euro empire of fast-food restaurants which includes: Supermac’s; Papa John’s Pizza; SuperSubs and Macs Place Diners. Although McDonagh sources all fresh potatoes for his franchises from suppliers nationwide, currently this weekly domestic supply is in the region of just 10t per week. However, just like his meat supply which is 100% Irish sourced, McDonagh is eager to expand his domestic potato supply. Speaking to AgriLand, he also revealed plans to develop a domestically-based fresh chips ventureMore

Mash splash: Comber spuds hit the Big Apple as Mash Direct launches in USA

Fresh mashed potatoes grown on a farm in Comber, Northern Ireland will be available in the US for the first time this month when a sixth generation Irish farming family behind Mash Direct brings its range of locally-grown vegetable side dishes to shelves in New York. Farmed on the shores of Strangford Lough, the traditional Northern Irish foods will be available to purchase in time for St. Patrick’s Day at Key Food, Food Emporium, Brooklyn Fare and SuperFresh. It’s the first time the taste of fresh Northern Irish produce will be available for customers to purchase in US grocery stores. Speaking ahead of the US Launch, Mash Direct Director, Jack Hamilton: “Everybody knows that Comber is famous for potatoes and for the first time we are able to supply them fresh to New York. We wanted to bring the unique richness of Irish soil and six generations of farming knowledge to the shelves.” More

Lay’s-PepsiCo sees ‘huge opportunities’ for premium potato chips in Argentina

Pablo García - General Manager PepsiCo Alimentos ArgentinaWhile Argentina’s salted-snack consumption is low at one kilo per person compared with the nine kilos in the US in 2017, the market has plenty of potential, says Pablo García, general manager for foods at PepsiCo Argentina. Latin America’s southern cone, comprising Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, has large development when it comes to potato chips and the segment represents half of Argentina’s salted-snack market. “Our research shows there is a large group of people looking to try new products from wine to ice-cream and salted snacks,” says García. Taking advantage of this interest, the company launched four flavors in Argentina in 2017 under its Lay’s branding. But, he says, trends in Argentina go beyond flavors. “We’re seeing see huge opportunities in developing the premium segment, because consumers now value texture. In response to that, we launched the first kettle chip in Argentina under Lay’s gourmet line, which has a harder texture compared with other chips”. Report by

US fresh potato exports show double-digit growth

Led by double-digit growth in Canada and Mexico, U.S. fresh potato exports soared 17% in value last year. U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics reveal 2017 U.S. fresh potato exports totaled $238.8 million, up 17% from a year ago. Volume of fresh potatoes exported in 2017 totaled 544,624 metric tons, up 11% from 2016. Canada was the top-ranked export market for U.S. fresh potatoes, taking $101 million, up 15% from 2016. Volume of U.S. fresh potatoes sold to Canada totaled 263,426 metric tons, up 9%. Sales to Mexico were $41.8 million in 2017, up 14% from 2016. Volume of U.S. fresh potato exports to Mexico totaled 93,350 metric tons, up 2% from 2016. Read the Packer report

France: “Potato market is facing challenges”

Touquet Savour is a big player on the French potato market. The company represents 30 producers and annually produces 25,000 tonnes of potatoes. Alexis Dequidt, from Touquet Savour: “Like in the Netherlands, the French potato market has been facing some difficulties this campaign, for different reasons. Firstly, last year’ oversupply has lowered the prices. Secondly, the potato consumption has reached a lower level. This has to do with a decreasing popularity of the ware potato in general.” More

Talking potatoes: ‘Potato consumption is under pressure, competing with other starch sources’

Abby KellettConsumer focus is critical in all markets – it is very dependent on the demographics and the maturity of the national supply chain, subjectively measured by how quickly and to what extent the regional supply chain can adapt to the changing demands of its consumer base, Abby Kellett, Arable Specialist of Farmers Guardian in the UK reports. The UK has some of the most sophisticated consumers in the world. We are a nation of savvy shoppers – habits are continually evolving, but expectations of quality and value remain critical. We are shopping more often and wasting less. Potato consumption is under pressure, competing with other starch sources and low carbohydrate diets, Abby finds. More

US: RPE chosen as exclusive marketing partner for CSS Farms’ Agri-Pack subsidiary

Related imageCSS Farms, a multi-state agriculture company producing onions and chip and specialty potatoes, and RPE – category leader and year-round grower/shipper of potatoes and onions – announce the selection of RPE as exclusive marketing partner of Agri-Pack, a CSS Farms subsidiary and Pasco, WA-based grower-packer-distributor of potatoes and onions. CSS Farms Managing Partner Reagan Grabner said the partnering organizations share a collaborative mindset, strategic approach and entrepreneurial spirit, noting RPE and CSS Farms have worked effectively together since 2010 as joint venture partners in Tasteful Selections, an industry leader in the bite-size potato category, growing it from 1 ½ percent of the United States market eight years ago to 18 percent today.  Continue reading

Fighting fit: US spud industry going on offensive, think ‘performance vegetable’

Related imageThe U.S. potato industry likes to describe its product as “America’s favorite vegetable.” But the industry acknowledges that critics have put potato marketing efforts “on the defensive,” causing “us to say that it’s OK to eat potatoes,” said Blair Richardson, president and CEO of Potatoes USA, the nation’s potato marketing agency. Now, his group is close to approving a marketing push that would put potatoes “on the offensive,” with “us saying that you should be eating potatoes,” he said. The push will encourage consumers — who sometimes use the term “couch potato” now — to focus on potatoes’ nutritional properties and think of spuds as a “performance vegetable,” Richardson said. Potatoes USA has been working for the past year on its fledgling plan to put potato marketing on the offensive. The organization is expected to make an official decision in the next few weeks on whether to go ahead with the plan, Richardson said. The marketing push would enhance the potato industry’s already bright future, he said. More

Hot arrival: Lamb Weston introduces ‘Crispy on Delivery’ fries

Lamb Weston introduces 'Crispy on Delivery': a comprehensive solution concept: special french fries, packaging and best practices - combined to get  Lamb Weston introduces a solution for fries that arrive hot and crispy via home delivery – new Crispy on Delivery is a comprehensive solution that goes from store to door. Crispy on Delivery fries maintain heat and crispiness for thirty minutes, while traditional fries start to lose their appeal after only five minutes. New Crispy on Delivery started with extensive research focused on customer satisfaction for home fry delivery. Lamb Weston identified three key areas that can impact delivered fry quality – the product, the packaging and best practices for delivery from store to door. “There’s nothing better than hot and crispy fries – one of the most loved foods in the world. We know we’ve got a solution to help our customers deliver on this,” said Mike Smith, SVP Growth & Strategy at Lamb Weston. “No one knows fries better than Lamb Weston – and our comprehensive approach to hot and crispy fries truly goes from the store to the door.” The new fry is lightly battered to withstand the challenges of delivery without sacrificing taste. Continue reading