Study: Consumers in Spain prefer fresh potatoes; buy potato products also via e-commerce channels

Image result for la patata frescaAccording to a news story published by the Spanish website Argenpapa, consumers in Spain bought a total of 1,32 million kilos of potatoes during March 2016 and March 2017 – 6.3 million kilos more than in the same time period for the previous year. This translates into an increase of 87 million euros. A study done by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment in Spain found that consumers prefer fresh potatoes, a segment that represents more than 70% of total potato consumption, or 22 kilos per person annually. The average consumption of all potato products (including processed) is about 30 kilos per person per year. Households with single and retired adults have the highest consumption rates, which stand at an average of 41 and 43 kilos per person per year respectively. The study further found that potatoes and potato products bought by Spanish consumers through e-commerce channels grew by 21% since 2016. Read the full story in Spanish

Smell is an important part of snacking, study finds

Image result for mccain smell

Smelling McCain’s jacket potatoes at a bus shelter…

Aroma is an essential component of the snacking experience for millennials, and many want their food products to immediately emanate the smell of their central flavors, according to a recent survey published in Bakery and Snacks. The survey included 1,000 male and female participants from the U.K., Germany, France, Spain and Poland. Food and beverage manufacturers have long known that consumers eat with all five senses. Pringles performed an experiment where they played the sound of different chips crunching for consumers. The brand determined that the sound a chip makes when broken was a strong indicator of whether it was stale or fresh. Pringles used that feedback to modify its chips’ texture, as well as its packaging and marketing campaigns, to reinforce the sound of fresh chips. Food manufacturers such as McCain Food have also leveraged product aroma in order to create multi-sensory experiences for their consumers. Continue reading

Applied Research: Ground-penetrating radar could help producers dig potatoes early

Dr. Dirk Hays, plant geneticist, is using ground-penetrating radar to test for early maturing potato varieties. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Kay Ledbetter)

Ground-penetrating radar might help the potato industry save water, according to Dr. Dirk Hays, Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant geneticist in the soil and crop sciences department at College Station. Hays’ latest project utilizes ground-penetrating radar to select early maturing potato cultivars, which can help producers make harvest decisions and increase water-use efficiency. His project is in coordination with AgriLife Research and the department of horticultural sciences potato breeding program conducted by breeders Dr. Creighton Miller and Dr. Isabel Vales, both at College Station. “We know radar will work on potatoes,” Hays said. “Radar works on detecting objects that are denser than the soil environment they are in. Potatoes are very moist versus the sandy soils they are grown in, so it’s relatively easy to image the potatoes with the ground-penetrating radar.”  Continue reading

Scottish potato seed sector battles with blackleg

Scotland currently produces 75% of the UK's seed potatoesMajor players in Scotland’s seed potato industry, as well as myriad public sector organisations and the Scottish Government, are teaming up to fund new research into the devastating crop disease, blackleg. According to Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA), blackleg caused the downgrade of 8% of Scottish seed crops in 2011. The disease spurs the soft rot of potatoes and can even kill off entire potato plants. In addition to the Scottish Government, the £242,000 research project has been sponsored by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, with McCain Potatoes Ltd, Greenvale AP, Cygnet Potato Breeders Ltd, Agrico UK Ltd, APS BioControl Ltd, HZPC, Caithness Potatoes Ltd, Branston Ltd, and Techneat Engineering also supporting the study. Report by The Scottish Potato Farmer

Research breakthrough: Novel way to convert potato waste into ethanol

potato peelsResearchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences have developed a novel approach to more efficiently convert potato waste into ethanol. This process may lead to reduced production costs for biofuel in the future, and also add extra value for chip makers. Using potato mash made from the peelings and potato residuals from a Pennsylvania food-processor, researchers triggered simultaneous saccharification — the process of breaking down the complex carbohydrate starch into simple sugars — and fermentation — the process in which sugars are converted to ethanol by yeasts or other microorganisms in bioreactors. This research is reportedly of great interest to Keystone Potato Products in Hegins, Pennsylvania, a subsidiary of Sterman Masser Inc. The company is paying attention to this project, hoping this novel approach may help it add more value to its waste potato mash. Continue reading

New report: Global potato processing market worth $30.85 billion by 2022; frozen segment largest share in 2017

Related imageAccording to information published in a new report “Potato Processing Market – Global Forecast to 2022”, published by MarketsandMarkets™, the global potato processing market was valued at $22.74 billion in 2016, and is projected to reach $30.85 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 5.3% during the forecast period. The market for potato processing is showing a significant growth due to the rise in demand for applications such as snack foods and prepared ready meals, and because of the increase in consumer preferences for convenience foods. The authors of the Report say an increase in the number of retail channels such as hypermarkets and supermarkets; rapid growth of the fast food industry; industrialization policies (such as the FDI and the establishment of Export Processing Zones) adopted by governments of developing economies such as India and China, are also expected to drive the growth of the Potato Processing Market during the forecast period. Continue reading

Scientists around the world focus on zebra chip disease and potato tomato psyllid

Potato crisps exhibiting Zebra chipFor the past number of years, many potato researchers in several countries around the world have been focusing on the problem of zebra chip disease of potatoes, and the insect that transmit this disease to spud tubers, the potato tomato psyllid. Zebra chip became a serious problem for many potato growers and processors alike during the past few years in many potato producing countries, including North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Zebra chip is caused by the Liberibacter bacterium and spread by tiny, winged insects called potato psyllids – and it creates bands in tuber flesh that darken during frying. University of Idaho (UI) researchers are studying reflections of various light wavelengths off of zebra chip-infected potatoes, seeking to devise a quicker and more precise method of quantifying disease prevalence. Continue reading

Ebook published: ‘Potato virus Y – Biodiversity, pathogenicity, epidemiology and management’

This Springer publication is said to be a timely overview of several decades of research on PVY, one of the most important plant viruses that will appeal to a broad academic audience (universities, public and private funded institutions) and the wide agri-biotech industry (growers, agronomist, breeders, policy). The authors present the latest data (published and yet unpublished) obtained by collaborating scientists (all known as experts on the PVY pathosystem) from different countries worldwide (i.e. members of the PVY-Wide organization). Experts in the field of virology have gathered to present an exhaustive overview of disease symptoms caused by PVY, providing a reference for the laboratory and field scientists and academics. The authors present a roadmap for future PVY research integrating current widely used approaches and novel/emerging technologies that will shape the future of epidemiology, pathology and diagnostic research. More

Report: Global Frozen Potatoes Market, 2017 – 2022

This up-to-date research report on the Global Frozen Potato Market is said to portray a detailed and fundamental market overview about current and future developments in the Frozen Potato market. The Report offers a thorough analysis of different Frozen Potato market segments, such as an overview of dominant key players and their vision about the future, including companies such as Farm Frites, Simplot Foods, Conagra Foods and McCain Foods. The report provides concise knowledge of the Frozen Potato market on a global scale, based on the past and present size of the Frozen Potato market, as welll as forecast scenarios, presented as graphs, tables, and pie-charts to help those interested in the Frozen Potato market to make sound decisions. More

British scientists and supermarkets working together to tackle potato greening problems

UK supermarkets and scientists are working together to find ways of reducing potato greening which costs the industry and retailers almost £100 million every year. Researchers at the James Hutton Institute have identified a genetic element to the problem which can mean a seven or eight fold variation in the amount of post-harvest greening. Tuber greening is directly linked to 116,000 tonnes of household potato waste and is estimated to cost UK retailers £60 million per annum.  Continue reading

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

Canada: Latest information released from potato pest monitoring program

A Canadian monitoring program for potato pests has proven very valuable and offered good news for potato growers. The program began in 2013 in cooperation with Scott Meers, an insect management specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. University of Lethbridge bio-geography professor Dr. Dan Johnson and his team have been monitoring Prairie potato fields for the past few years, looking for evidence of the potato psyllid insect and a bacterium it can carry that can lead to zebra chip disease in potato crops.  Continue reading

Agronomy: AHDB in the UK released latest edition of Crop Nutrient Management Guide

Image result for potato nutrient imageAccording to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) in the UK, optimising crop yield and quality whilst managing finances and considering the environment is the scenario facing producers, and it emphasises the need for careful nutrient management and planning. Increasing understanding around fertiliser use and uptake by plants is a continuing area of work. As is the exploration of potential savings and looking at how to make best use of new technology and nutrient sources. AHDB’s latest edition of the Nutrient Management Guide (RB209) provides guidelines for crop nutrient requirements and the nutrient content of organic materials. It is published as seven sections, namely: Principles of nutrient management and fertiliser use; Organic materials; Grass and forage crops; Arable crops; Potatoes;  Vegetables and bulbs; Fruit, vines and hops. The guide can be found on the web site of AHDB Potatoes, or you can find out more, including downloadable PDFs and video content, on the main AHDB website

Drones measure nitrogen application in potato farming

Researchers at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands announced that the ‘Toward precision agriculture 2.0’ research program has included a group of potato farmers carrying out test runs with sensor observations by drones. The drone images show exactly where they should apply more or less nitrogen on their fields, allowing farmers to use the product more efficiently. Precision agriculture researcher Johan Booij from Wageningen University & Research explains how it works: “The images captured by the drone of the potato field are converted into a map. The farmer is sent this map by e-mail and can upload it via an app on Akkerweb, which we developed with Agrifirm. This software then rolls out advice for farmers as to where they should use more or less nitrogen, and which areas don’t need extra application. While we have optimized the method for the use of the eBee-drone, developers of other drone types can make their sensor systems suitable too.” More

NZ: Mesh cheaper than chemicals in stopping potato psyllid

Charles Merfield with mesh which is more successful in warding off pests than chemicals.Scientist Dr Charles Merfield believes he has the answer to solving the problem of the potato psyllid, which costs growers about $10 million a year. Trials using mesh to cover the crops have shown an “astonishing” reduction in numbers of the insect, which delivers a damaging bacterium to the plant and tubers, causing major production losses. Not only does the mesh ward off the insects, it is about $1000 per hectare cheaper than chemicals, and increases yields by 12 per cent, so that gross margin profit rose between 27 to 75 per cent. “The economics are just amazing.  If this is not a stunning win for the New Zealand potato industry I don’t know what is,” Merfield, who is based at the Future Farming Centre at Lincoln University, said. “The result is utterly stunning, it is effectively complete control of potato psyllid. In comparison achieving complete control of any insect pest on crops with agrichemicals is nigh on impossible.  That this can be achieved with a non-chemical approach is even more heartening as it also addresses the spectre of insecticide resistance.” More