The Irish Farmers Association reports that retail demand has eased slightly, although colder weather forecasted should improve trade again in Ireland. The food service sector continues to prosper, despite it traditionally being a quieter period. Prices for the fresh sector in Europe are currently described as holding or slightly easier. Export demand is very quiet.
Waitrose & Partners is set to be the first major retailer to sign up to The UK Robust Potato Pledge, which will see the group move away from the use of copper-based fungicides on organic fresh potatoes in order to combat late blight. According to a report by European Supermarket Magazine, the group aims to achieve this by growing and selling only resistant or ‘robust’ organic fresh potatoes by 2026.
Several key UK retailers have pledged to sell disease resistant organic potatoes, boosting sustainability and farm resilience for producers. Organic certification body the Soil Association developed its ‘UK Robust Potato Pledge 2021’ in a bid to help growers move away from potatoes that are susceptible to blight. Signees to the pledge have agreed to favour organic spuds that have been bred to be blight resistant.
As MountainKing readies for its fall harvest, early tests from its fields in Colorado’s San Luis Valley offer encouraging signs for several of the brand’s gourmet varieties including its yellow-flesh varietals. “The 2021 crop outlook is very bright,” says Andreas Trettin, director of marketing for MountainKing Potatoes. “The quality is extraordinary,” he says.
The transition from old crop to new crop potatoes is taking place right now, and two potato industry observers report that expected reduced fresh shipments during the 2021-22 marketing year should provide a firm market. Mark Klompien, president and CEO of the United Potato Growers of America For the 2020-21 season, Klompien said that fresh potato pricing seems to be finding stable footing this fall.
In India, in North Bengal and in the Bihar regions, potato farmers have long awaited an early bulking potato variety with better storability to cater for evolving grower needs. Until now, the absence of such a variety with this unique combination of characteristics has left farmers either to miss the early market opportunity to reap better prices or book higher losses during storage. Red Candy, a new variety launched by Technico Agri Sciences Ltd, aptly addresses the potato growers’ needs and help them to reap the twin benefits of early bulking with better storability.
According to a market report issued by Potatoes USA, potato sales declined in dollars by 10.5% and in volume by 15.5% during April – June of 2021, compared to the same time period in 2020. However, when sales are compared to that same timeframe in 2019, sales increased in value and volume. Consumers bought 53 million more pounds of potatoes, demonstrating demand for potatoes is elevated in grocery stores.
“We are changing how we go to shows and even how we market ourselves as a whole, because everybody always views us as onions and potatoes, but we do a lot of other items,” said Joe Esta, vice president of Wada Farms Marketing Group in Idaho Falls, ID. Wada Farms will be featuring its chipping potato, a round white potato marketed under the label Big Joe’s Chippers at the PMA Foodservice Expo in Monterey.
This year, the total cultivation area for ware potatoes in the Netherlands has declined by nearly 5 thousand ha (6.5 percent) to 72 thousand ha. It also declined in 2020. Areas in use for seed and starch potatoes have increased slightly over the past twelve months, by nearly 1 percent each. The share of seed and starch potatoes in the total potato cultivation area has continued to rise slightly over the past year.
It was announced last week that Mexican Agriculture Secretary Víctor Villalobos Arámbula is expected to travel to Washington, D.C. in early August to meet with his American counterpart, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. The meeting is expected to include a discussion of the decades-long issue concerning Mexico’s ban on the full importation of fresh U.S. potatoes. Today, NPC and state potato organizations sent a letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack and USTR Ambassador Tai, urging them to “maintain a ‘trust-but-verify’ stance with Mexico” as they continue their negotiations.
Farmers may have to cut the volume of Jersey Royal potatoes grown in a season if the Island’s biggest agricultural crop is to maintain its premium status, an industry leader has said. The Jersey Royal has dominated the UK early season fresh produce market for over a century – but farming developments in the potato sector, stiff competition from other agricultural regions and changing consumer habits threaten its market lead.
Potatoes are the top side dish in Belgium. On an average day in 2020, 41% of Belgians ate these (incl. fries). A lot of people were already eating potatoes at home. But, due to COVID-19 and its related measures, that rose in 2020. That’s according to a Flemish Agri and Fisheries Marketing Center (VLAM) press release. In 2020, home consumption of fresh potatoes increased by eight percent. That ended the downward trend in in-home consumption.
Smaller pack sizes and new packaging formats that allow potatoes to be microwaved for convenience, are among the industry trends being embraced by K&K Produce, which is based in Fingal, Co. Dublin. Established by Tommy and Deirdre Kennedy in 1984, K&K Produce is a family affair, with their three children, Thomas, Michael and Lisa, all involved in the business.
Tesco has become the first retailer in Ireland to make its packaging for 1kg new season potatoes fully recyclable while also reducing the amount of paper used in its 2.5kg potato packaging. This step change on packaging will commence on a 12-week trial basis in 100 stores, with plans to roll out the changes to more products if successful. As one of Ireland’s favourite grocery items, this change will have a significant impact on reducing plastic waste.
Sam Dennigan and Company is one of Ireland’s leading food manufacturers, sourcing, shipping, distributing and marketing over 100,000 tonnes of fresh produce each year to customers across Ireland, the UK and Europe. In September 2020 Sam Dennigan and Company saw demand for its fresh potatoes leap by a fifth. The company invested in a new, state-of-the-art packing line designed and installed by Haith Group to meet the increased demand.
In the latest episode of Potato-cast, a Potatoes USA podcast, Natalia Cervantes, Potatoes USA Conversation Architect, is joined by her guest Kayla Dome, Potatoes USA Global Retail Marketing Manager. Kayla points out that fresh potatoes are still driving larger baskets at retail outlets. She says March 2021 was expected to decline in sales compared to 2020 but specifically online grocery sales saw a 43% increase in online sales compared to 2020, a $9.3 billion dollar sales increase for that online category.
A family-owned British potato farm in Yorkshire is celebrating 30 years of a successful partnership with Aldi. Located in Dunnington, R.S. Cockerill started supplying potatoes to the supermarket shortly after it opened its first British store back in 1990, making it one of Aldi’s longest supplier relationships. Starting from supplying just one pallet of potatoes with a team of 20, the business now supplies potatoes to over 150 stores across the country and employs over 145 people.
The growth in home cooking during the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in more families in Northern Ireland picking up packs of local potatoes for meals. It’s a development that Angus Wilson of Wilson’s Country in Craigavon, Northern Ireland’s largest potato processor, has been working towards for many years. In addition, novel potato products from the Northern Ireland company last week won acclaim for their quality and taste from retailers in Scotland in the shape of a major award for a UK producer in the influential Scottish Retail Food and Drink Awards.
The year 2020 has been unprecedented in many ways and has been extremely challenging for fresh produce suppliers, retailers, and shoppers, writes Raul Fernandez, President of Breakthrough Solutions, in an article published by Produce Business. Looking ahead, the following summarizes the top consumer trends for produce suppliers in the coming year. Fernandez identifies seven essential trends.
KisanHub report: ‘Environmental and financial sustainability in fresh food production – The role technology plays’
Agriculture’s digital revolution has potential to benefit both business and planet, with sustainability quickly becoming a priority in the industry, KisanHub specialists say in a newly released report. They say say this pressure to take action has been increased during the past 12-months, which have shown how global factors, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, affect our food system and the ‘normal’ way of growing and supplying fresh produce has had to adjust.
EarthFresh recently received the Best in Organic Product award in the ‘New Product Showcase’ at the CPMA’s Fresh Week Virtual Trade Show and Conference. “We have expanded our Organic product line up to include our Organic Red, Russet & Golden potatoes in new eye-catching 10-lb. compostable paper bags”, says Stephanie Cutaia, Marketing Director at EarthFresh.
If consumers “eat with their eyes first”, you could say that packaging is the main course. As such, communicating your brand through a unique package can be one of the most powerful tools in the produce aisle. Idaho based ProSource Produce is well aware of this and recently released the first images of its new branded Idaho russet potato packaging.
One year after making its first COVID-19 relief delivery to the Houston Food Bank, MountainKing has now shipped more than 1.6 million pounds of fresh potatoes to the non-profit organization dedicated to providing nutritious meals to those in need. “For years, MountainKing has been a supporter of the Houston Food Bank and its mission of providing food for better lives,” notes Andreas Trettin, the company’s director of marketing.
Northern Ireland potato packer and processor Wilson’s Country says its 2020 sales to retail have grown at double the local market rate, thanks to its convenience range. Kantar data showed that the Northern Irish potato market grew at just over 8 per cent in volume, while sales of the Wilson’s Country brand rose almost 18 per cent for the same period, the packer said.
Lidl Ireland and its supplier, Meade Farm, have introduced an exclusive limited edition range of Irish Gold Potatoes which have hit stores just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Supplied exclusively to Lidl by their long-term supplier, Meade Farm, these premium unique white potatoes were grown by Meath-based Gibbstown Farm and have a distinct taste and traditional heritage, the discounter said.
A move to cut down on food waste by selling unwashed potatoes – and in doing so potentially double their shelf-life – is being launched by Tesco, the company says in a press release. In doing so, it will help cut down on what waste advisory action group WRAP, say are the UK’s single most wasted food in the home.