Trends

Ireland: Potato demand from retailers soars; food service takes hit

With the current coronavirus situation developing over the past week, demand across all sectors has been mixed, according to the IFA. Demand from retailers this week has soared and is reportedly as high as the Christmas period when trade normally peaks. The food service industry is experiencing a hit due to decreased footfall and closures. Meanwhile plantings continue this week across the country.

Europatat: European organizations issues statement on food security amid the Covid-19 outbreak

The European organisations CopaCogeca, FoodDrinkEurope and Celcaa (the European Liaison Committee for Agricultural and Agri-Food Trade, of which Europatat is a member) have released a joint statement in which they assure that “Europe’s food supply chain will work closely together to ensure everybody in Europe continues to have access to safe, quality and affordable food and drink products during the Coronavirus pandemic”.

US: Why there will soon be tons of toilet paper, and what food may be scarce, according to supply chain experts

Stuck rationing toilet paper because you didn’t stockpile during the coronavirus panic over the last few days? Don’t worry, according to supply chain experts. “All the grocery stores are going to have pallets of toilet paper sitting in the aisles, and nobody is going to buy it, because who needs to buy toilet paper when you’ve got a year’s worth sitting in your garage?” Daniel Stanton, a supply chain expert. “The [food] brand that you normally want may not be available. But, hey, there’s some other kind of pasta. Or instead of rice, we’re going to have potatoes for dinner,” Stanton says.

What are farmers in England investing in to increase income?

Almost half of all farmers in the south-east and east of England have already invested in non-farming activities such as building lets and agro-tourism, as they seek to diversify their income sources, Farmers Weekly reports. The survey found almost one-third of farmers have already invested in things such as tourism and letting building, with another 15% expecting to do so in the next three years.

Coronavirus Opinion: When a danger is growing exponentially, everything looks fine until it doesn’t

There’s an old brain teaser that goes like this: You have a pond of a certain size, and upon that pond, a single lilypad. This particular species of lily pad reproduces once a day, so that on day two, you have two lily pads. On day three, you have four, and so on. Now the teaser. “If it takes the lily pads 48 days to cover the pond completely, how long will it take for the pond to be covered halfway?” The answer is 47 days. Moreover, at day 40, you’ll barely know the lily pads are there.

Idaho stores somehow selling out of potatoes

Odd as it may sound, Idaho retailers have been experiencing fresh potato shortages lately, John O’Connell of Post Register reports. Several produce departments throughout the Gem State were sold out of every potato consumer bag and loose spud by Tuesday, as consumers seeking to stock their pantries for the coronavirus outbreak bought foods that store well by the cartload. “It is strange. I didn’t think I’d ever see a shortage, at least at the store level, of potatoes in Idaho,” said Travis Blacker, industry relations director with the Idaho Potato Commission.

Coronavirus in the US: ‘There is plenty of food in the country’

Americans have been alarmed by empty grocery shelves, but while food suppliers and retailers say they are struggling with surging demand, they insist the supply chain remains strong, write four reporters in an article published by the NY Times. The aisles and aisles of empty store shelves give the appearance that the United States, improbably and alarmingly, is running out of food. But the nation’s biggest retailers, dairy farmers and meat producers say that isn’t so.

Power of Produce 2020 report: How’s the industry doing on increasing consumption?

The percentage of U.S. consumers who eat fruits and vegetables daily has dropped noticeably in recent years, according to the new Power of Produce report. According to an article by Ashley Nickle, published in Produce Retailer, in 2018, 48% consumers reported eating fruits and/or vegetables just about every day. In 2019, the number dropped to 41%. In the most recent report, the number is 35%.

Overview of the global potato market

This past Friday, March 13, FreshPlaza published a report in which trends in the global potato market is discussed. The authors of the report say the potato market in Europe is now clearly divided between north and south. In countries where the coronavirus / Covid-19 is around, the demand is rising, but especially for local products. For example, the demand in Italy has tripled for a short time at the start of the epidemic, and Spanish growers are barely able to keep up with the demand.

Expert Opinion: What could the coronavirus mean for the global potato industry?

The spread and fear of coronavirus has stepped up a gear this week, with more than 110 countries or territories reporting 129,000 cases and more than 4, 000 deaths between them, writes potato market analyst Cedric Porter in this week’s issue of World Potato Markets. The virus is having an impact on the potato industry, Porter says. Some countries are reporting an increase in table potato sales as people stock up on essential goods, but processing potato prices, especially in Europe, have plunged on physical and futures markets. The current crisis is being likened to the economic crisis which began in 2008.

US potato acreage expected to climb, lowering returns

The 2019 potato crop delivered lower yields in the Red River Valley and parts of Idaho, but other regions saw growth, reports Tom Karst in The Packer this week. Red, yellow and russet production totaled about 86 million cwt. in 2019, down about 8 million cwt. (9%) from the previous year. Acreage is expected to expand in 2020, but there has been no industry projection so far.

Produce exposed: Is plastic-free produce the next frontier?

“Naked produce. No, it’s not a dodgy search term (though I wouldn’t even try Googling it, just in case); it’s the next new thing in supermarket shopping,” writes Niki Bezzant in her monthly blog, Potato Chat, for Potatoes New Zealand. Niki writes in the latest issue of the blog that Countdown supermarket chain is trialling a plastic-free produce section in[Read More…]

Slim supplies continue on potatoes in North America, coronavirus influencing buyers and retailers

Potato supplies continue to be snug across North America, though how tight things are is still to be determined. “Supplies have been tight this season from the beginning,” says Ryan Wahlen of Pleasant Valley Potato in Aberdeen, ID. “I think [coronavirus] influencing the buyers a lot,” says Wahlen. “There are a few concerned who aren’t sure how heavy to carry an inventory of a perishable item. They’re worried about their work force being impacted.

Potatoes USA considers effects of coronavirus on consumer behaviour

Tom Karst writes in The Packer today that the 2020 annual meeting of Potatoes USA proceeded as planned even as news was breaking that the NCAA decided to exclude fans from its annual post-season basketball tournament the coronavirus, COVID-19. Some potato marketers said that sales of dehydrated potato flakes have increased while foodservice fresh and frozen sales have dropped. Most said they don’t expect long-term changes in how people buy potatoes.

Report: ‘UK savoury snacks industry is a real success story’

A new report by The Snack, Nut and Crisp Manufacturers Association (SNACMA), estimates the total value of the UK’s savoury snack industry for the coming year at £3.2 billion, a significant increase on last year’s figure of £2.5 billion.. With more than 95 per cent of all potato crisps being made from home grown potatoes, it is claimed that the snack sector is a major supporter of farming jobs.

FarmBeats: Microsoft makes a play for the precision agriculture market

The global population is expected to increase by 2.2 billion by 2050, and the world’s farmers will have to grow about 70% more food than is now produced. If you ask Microsoft, the solution lies in technology, writes Kyle Wiggers in an article published in VentureBeat The tech giant’s FarmBeats program, which launched in preview late last year on Azure Marketplace, is a multi-year effort to bring robust data analytics to the agriculture sector.

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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