Australia: Research team aims to extract high quality proteins from processing wastewater

Researchers dr. Jocelyn Midgley (Simplot Australia) and professor Vicki Chen, from UNSW School of Chemical Engineering in Sydney, Australia, associate professor Jayashree Arcot and PhD student Shirin Dabestani, plan to find a solution to extract valuable high quality proteins from wastewater. Wastewater effluent from the food processing industries contains high concentrations of potassium, COD and BOD (chemical and biochemical oxygen demand) caused by the presence of starch, proteins, amino acids and sugars. The waste stream from the potato processing industry particularly contains considerable amounts of these valuable by-products. Protein, particularly plant protein, is a food trend that has been gathering increasing momentum with consumers. Although the level of protein in this wastewater is low, large volumes of potatoes are processed, thus for Simplot Australia the project was an investigation of opportunities. More

Trend: Driverless farming robots could work the fields of the future

The 2017 Cereals show in Boothby Graffoe in Lincolnshire. Pictured: The Anatis crop-weeding robot.Swarms of automated farming robots could hold the key to future productivity and workforce concerns, according to one exhibitor at the 2017 Cereals show in the UK. Demonstrated in the new Fields of the Future zone at the show in Lincolnshire was the Anatis machine, made by French company Carré, which is described as a “connected agricultural co-bot”. Guided by GPS, it trundles between the rows of brassica plants, mechanically removing weeds, while a series of cameras gathers data on the crop plants, counting and measuring them so the operator can plan their management and see any areas of stilted growth which require further attention. Sean Stanfield, sales director for TRP Imports in Sleaford, said five of the battery-powered machines will be working commercially in France by the end of the year, and he will be taking UK orders for 2019. More

China plans to grow potatoes in space … like Matt Damon did in The Martian

Image result for matt damon plant potatoesFor the first time in history, Chinese space authorities are planning to grow potatoes and raise worms on the moon, the Chongqing Morning Post reported on Tuesday. A 3kg mini-ecosystem container developed by research teams led by Chongqing University would be transported to the moon’s surface by the Chang’e 4 that will be launched in 2018, authorities revealed last week. “The container will send potatoes, arabidopsis seeds and silkworm eggs to the surface of the moon. The eggs will hatch into silkworms, which can produce carbon dioxide, while the potatoes and seeds emit oxygen through photosynthesis. Together, they can establish a simple ecosystem on the Moon,” Zhang Yuanxun, chief designer of the container, was quoted as saying in the report. More

Potato-based vegan milk from Canadian company debuts in China

Global Gardens Group (GGG)—parent company of vegan milk brand Veggemo—began distribution of its products in China this week. Canada-based Veggemo—which expanded its distribution to the US in February—currently has three plant-based milk flavors on the market made from a combination of vegetables including potato, cassava and pea protein. While the dairy industry has experienced a downturn in recent years, the global plant-based milk market is expected to soar to $35 billion by 2024. More

Texturized potato chips with Ingredion’s solution

Ingredion Incorporated announced six additions to its Precisa Crisp line of functional starch texturizers for the snack industry. With Precisa Crisp series of snack texturizers, manufacturers can create baked snacks with enhanced textures, optimal expansion and reduced breakage. “With more consumers around the world clamoring for healthier baked snacks, we wanted to help manufacturers seize the opportunity creating textures that appeal to more consumers,” said Marco Villone, Ingredion’s vice president of marketing USA and Canada. “The new series of Precisa Crisp texturizers allows manufacturers to dial-in desired texture, from “soft” and “snapping” to “hard” and “shattering”. Precisa Crisp functional starches can be used to formulate a variety of snacks like potato chips, crackers and tortilla chips. More

Expert View – Sorting and Product Inspection: A Step Change in Digital Sorting

Digital sorting has recently experienced a step change. This disruptive new technology, which has been in commercial use at potato processing facilities around the world for more than a year, offers novel capabilities and delivers new standards of performance. What’s different? Everything: from the sorter’s mechanical architecture to its sensors, software, ejection system, user interface (UI) and more, both incremental and disruptive changes have been brought to the market. In this article, Marco Azzaretti, advanced inspection systems product manager at Key Technology describe what’s different and present the benefits that these features bring to processors of potato strips and specialty products. More

T and G announce new low carb potatoes for New Zealand

T&G has announced the launch of their new Lotatoes, which is their low carb potato they hope will capture the interest of health conscious consumers. “Grown sustainably and naturally bred on rolling farms in Pukekohe and Ohakune, Lotatoes have been bred using different varieties of potato. Lotatoes have 40% less carbs and less calories than other commonly available potato varieties (Rua and Agria) and have lower carbs and calories. More

Yellow potatoes continue gaining market share in North America

Yellow potatoes continue to gain market share and the gain is mostly at the expense of russets and whites, according to Ted Kreis, Northern Plains Potato Growers Association (NPPGA) marketing and communications director. Red River Valley is growing more yellows in recent years. In 2010, the valley produced just over 200,000 hundredweight (cwt.) of yellow potatoes. Just five years later in 2015 the valley produced 607,000 cwt. More

Australia: Battling the potato myth

Battling the potato mythTaste, versatility and ease of use all rate highly for Australian consumers of potatoes. t’s the myth that potatoes are carbohydrate-loaded and that starchy vegetables aren’t healthy that’s caused the drop in consumption among Australians, according to a study by Potatoes South Australia (SA) and the University of Adelaide. The report ‘Australian consumers’ insights into potatoes – nutritional knowledge, perceptions and beliefs’ by Katie Wood, John Carragher and Robbie Davis, analysed the results of a survey of 1,200 Australians and found that one-third of those survey had decreased their consumption of potatoes in the past five years. More

US: Neonicotinoids losing efficiency in potato psyllid control

Neonicotinoid insecticides losing efficiency in potato psyllid controlThe potato industry may be losing a mainstay in the battle against psyllids, according to a recent Texas A&M AgriLife Research study. Ada Szczepaniec, AgriLife Research entomologist in Amarillo, said while there may be varying degrees of resistance to neonicotinoid insecticides in populations of psyllids across Texas, her recent study indicates they’ve lost their punch. “We are able to provide strong evidence that these insecticides no longer suppress populations of psyllids below desirable levels,” Szczepaniec said. “However, there may be some measures to help in this ongoing battle against the .” Szczepaniec said the study, funded by the Texas Department of Agriculture, indicates applications of neonicotinoid insecticides at planting, which are a considerable cost for producers, should be replaced with investments in post-emergence applications of insecticides other than neonicotinoids. More

US: Genetically engineered potatoes approved for Maine

Impact of late blight disease on rows of conventional potatoes (left) and Innate™ Gen 2 potatoes (right) in Michigan as seen in this Nov 2015 photo.With little fanfare, the Maine Board of Pesticides Control unanimously approved earlier this month the registration of three new types of genetically engineered potatoes that have been developed by a major Idaho agribusiness company. The move means that the J.R. Simplot Co.’s Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet and Atlantic potatoes could be planted in Maine fields at any time. These potatoes were created by adding genes from a wild potato plant and are designed to be resistant to late blight. But genetically modified crops have been controversial in the past. Critics of the process say that won’t be any different for the Simplot potatoes, the second generation to be sold under the brand name Innate, although company officials say otherwise. More

US: Walmart stores to test skinny potatoes

A small product is about to get a potentially giant boost. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.—the largest retailer in the U.S.—is expected to begin testing the Skinny Potato this month, says Scott McDulin, vice president of Schmieding Produce Co. in Springdale, Ark. “I talked to [Walmart’s] category manager two weeks ago, and he loved the idea,” says McDulin, who added that the test will be in Walmart stores served by the retailer’s Dallas distribution center. The idea behind the Skinny Potato is a response to the fact that some consumers have shied away from russet potatoes while trying to cut carbs. McDulin says most russets packed in 5-pound bags are 5 to 9 ounces each. The 100-calorie Skinny Potato offers smaller portions, with 4- to 6-ounce potatoes. More

Scotland: Potato growers dig the latest smartphone technology

New smartphone tech could give potato producers better data on their crop yields. Picture: Johnston PressWhile the world of high-tech wizardry tends to conjure up images of drones crowding the sky as driverless tractors till the fields below, two of the latest developments in this area for tattie growers require nothing more exotic than a mobile phone. As part of the smart farming project, a software-based potato yield model that has been developed jointly by agridata centre Agrimetrics and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) is aimed at giving farmers reliable predictions on a crop’s likely yield and value via their smartphones. The developers claim that using these devices to collect information about planting date and emergence along with field images of the crop canopy taken with the phone’s camera can help growers get a better idea of what is happening under the soil. “Decades of science and field experience are being made available in a user-friendly way,” said ­Professor Mario Caccamo of Agrimetrics. More

Texas A&M to make designer potatoes to increase consumption

(Source: Texas A&M AgriLife Research)The Texas A&M AgriLife Research is making designer potatoes to increase potatoes consumption. “The average consumption in the U.S. is 113 pounds per year per person. But overall potato consumption in the U.S. has generally declined somewhat.” said Dr. Creighton Miller, a potato breeder with Texas A&M AgriLife Research. Miller said the objective of the Texas A&M potato breeding program is to develop improved varieties adapted specifically to Texas environmental conditions. “So what we are doing now is developing unique varieties that have a tendency to appeal to the younger set with high income who are willing to try something different,” he said. One type is a small potato, he said, adding that within the trials he is looking for varieties with a heavy set of small potatoes. More

UK: Growers missing out on increased yields that precision farming offers

Growers could be missing out on increased crop yields and improved soil quality if they overlook adopting the latest precision farming techniques. A three year AHDB project, which is now in its final year, has so far revealed UK growers could be benefiting from controlled traffic farming (CTF) techniques, resulting in better soil quality and increased yields. Part of the study assesses the use of CTF in horticulture to reduce field area wheeled by machinery in order to develop soil structure and lead to less energy intensive cultivations. Dr Paul Newell Price, RSK ADAS, said: “Controlled traffic systems can improve the efficiency and profitability of horticultural production by increasing opportunities to access the land, reducing input costs and evening up yields across each planted area.”  Continue reading

US: Frozen and fresh potato exports up; dehy down

Total U.S. Frozen potato exports recovered in March, up 17% over March 2016 and bringing the total for the first three quarters of the marketing year to 754,953 metric tons, up 3% over the same period last fiscal year.  The March recovery was led by the Philippines up 57%, Mexico 38%, Taiwan 36%, Indonesia 31%, Japan 28% and Korea 25%.  The only real drag on exports to Potatoes USA target markets was China down 31% for the month and now off 30% for the marketing year. Total Fresh potato exports were up 18% for March and at 318,977 metric tons are now up 10% for the marketing year.  Continue reading

Canada: Potato growers on P.E.I. using GPS to plant more efficiently

The GPS and auto steer system that the Campbells are using cost between $40,000 and $50,000 dollars when they purchased it seven years ago. 
As potato growers across Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) plant this year’s crop, many are using the latest GPS technology to guide them. “I’d say probably 80 per cent of growers out there would have something like this,” said Will MacNeill, owner of Atlantic Precision Agri-Services, in West Devon, P.E.I. “The most common technology is auto steer, where we steer the tractor and steer the planter with one inch accuracy just to maintain perfect spacing between passes,” said MacNeill. MacNeill’s company has been selling and servicing GPS equipment since 1997, but says sales have really taken off in the last five years. “Nowadays margins are so tight in the potato industry and in all of farming, you just have to be very careful with what you do, not to waste any fertilizer, waste any chemicals or sprays, just to be very very efficient in what you’re doing,” explained MacNeill. More

Simplot postpones commercial introduction of Innate GMO potatoes in Canada

Simplot postpones commercial introduction of Innate GMO potatoes in CanadaSimplot Plant Sciences will not commercially launch its Innate GMO potatoes in Canada this year, despite regulatory approval and interest among potato farmers to grow these new potatoes, according to a report by CBC News. Doug Cole, director of marketing and communications, said Simplot is holding off allowing commercial growth of Innate potatoes in Canada until there’s a proven market for them. According to Cole, “There is strong interest from the grower community and retailers are also interested.” But it’s a very involved purchase decision.” He said there are about five acres of test plots on Prince Edward Island this year and the mentioned that Simplot Plant Sciences has also test plots in Ontario and Manitoba. More

PepsiCo Greater China Region (GCR) signs strategic agreement with online retailer Alibaba

PepsicoPepsiCo Greater China Region (GCR) signed a strategic agreement with Alibaba Group, the world’s largest online and mobile commerce company. The collaboration enables PepsiCo to further enhance consumer experiences by leveraging Alibaba’s data to introduce innovative marketing initiatives, customized products and integrated omnichannel solutions. The agreement was signed at the PepsiCo Asia R&D Center in Shanghai, by Mike Spanos, PepsiCo GCR President & CEO, and Jet Jing, Vice President of Alibaba Group.  Continue reading

Report: Global Potato Chips Market 2017

Global Potato Chips MarketGlobal Potato Chips Market 2017 Research Report offers an analysis of the growth rate of the Potato Chips industry. This report scrutinizes current market trends, future growth potential, dominant market growth drivers, elements impeding market growth, opportunities, market framework, market challenges, market future prognosis and best practices in the global Potato Chips market. The report serves as a valuable guide for industry players and other individuals who are interested in studying the Potato Chips market. More

Pepsico: ‘New emission targets keep global warming below two degrees Celcius’

Earlier this week, PepsiCo confirmed that its ambitious new target for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction has been verified and approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative as being in line with what climate science says is necessary to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius. The global food and beverage company has committed to work to reduce absolute GHG emissions across its value chain by at least 20 percent by 2030. Under its Performance with Purpose vision, PepsiCo has already had significant success in limiting its GHG emissions.  Continue reading

Great Britain’s potato stocks at similar level as last year

Great Britain’s grower-held potato stock levels at the end of March 2017 were at 1Mt, around the same volume as the end-March 2016 and 300Kt less than the end-March 2015 according to an AHDB estimate. Despite the similarity in stock levels, any repeat of the high prices seen in 2016 will depend on a number of factors including availability of purchasers own stocks, quality of stored stocks and growing conditions for the current season. Acording to Amber Cottingham, Analyst at AHDB Potatoes, “2015/16 saw some very high prices paid towards the end of the season, as it became apparent that planting would be late and harvest was likely to follow suit, which extended the 2015/16 storage season. Conditions for ambient storage were also reportedly very poor, due to the mild winter, which meant many stocks had to be sold off earlier than anticipated to prevent loss from quality issues.” Continue reading

US: Genetically engineered potatoes approved for Maine

With little fanfare, the Maine Board of Pesticides Control unanimously approved on Friday morning the registration of three new types of genetically engineered potatoes that have been developed by a major Idaho agribusiness company. The move means that the J.R. Simplot Co.’s Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet and Atlantic potatoes could be planted in Maine fields at any time. These potatoes were created by adding genes from a wild potato plant and are designed to be resistant to late blight, the disease that caused the mid-19th century Irish Potato Famine and which remains a problem today. More

US approves 3 more types of Simplot GMO potatoes for sale this year

Genetically modified potatoes that won’t bruise are a step closer to public consumption as early as this fall, now that Simplot Co. has received final government approval to grow and sell them.The federal government has given the final OK to three more types of potatoes genetically engineered by Boise’s J.R. Simplot Co. to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine. They are safe for the environment and safe to eat, officials announced. The approvals by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration last month mean Simplot is free to plant the potatoes this spring and sell them in the fall. The approvals apply to Simplot’s second generation of its Innate line of potatoes. The first generation already is sold in stores under the White Russet label. The company said the latest varities will have less bruising and fewer black spots, enhanced cold-storage capacity and a lower amount of a potentially carcinogenic chemical that is created when potatoes are cooked at high temperatures. More

UK: January potato stocks reach parity with 2016 levels

GB potato stock levels at the end of January were at a similar level to the same point in 2016, despite a four-year low yield, according an AHDB survey of grower stocks. The figure suggests a slowing in drawdown rates between the end of November and January, says AHDB Analyst, Amber Cottingham. The survey result estimated GB potato stock levels at the end of January at 1.9Mt. This is similar to the same point in the season last year and around 350Kt less than at the end of January 2015. November stock levels were tracking ahead of last season suggesting that the drawdown on stocks between the end of November 2016 and the end of January 2017 was 965Kt. This compares to a drawdown of 1,243Kt for the corresponding period last year, a significant drop of 278Kt.  Continue reading