Latest news stories from around the World

Frito-Lay snacking survey: Consumers go beyond just flavors, look to companies’ promises when choosing a snack

The latest U.S. Trend Index from Frito-Lay polled consumers on their snacking preferences and priorities and found that the 90 percent of consumers who snack daily care about the companies whose snacks they’re eating. Snack companies’ attention to sustainability practices (77 percent), community impact around food access (78 percent), and treatment of employees (87 percent) are among the top values driving purchasing decisions.

Gregory Porter awarded Honorary Life Membership by the Potato Association of America

Gregory Porter, professor of agronomy in the University of Maine School of Food and Agriculture, will receive an Honorary Life Membership from the Potato Association of America (PAA) at the organization’s annual meeting in July 2022. An Honorary Life Membership Award, the highest honor bestowed by PAA, recognizes exceptional contributions to the potato industry. Porter has been a member of PAA since 1981, and served as vice president, president elect and president.

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Supplemental calcium application to mitigate heat stress: The importance of root zone calcium levels

Dr Jiwan Palta, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, is a recognized world expert on Calcium nutrition. He is a key speaker at many potato conferences, and we are fortunate that over the years, he has given 4 outstanding presentations at the Ontario Potato Conference. Jiwan has made important contributions to clarify the role of calcium in potato production. In this article, Dr Eugenia Banks at the Ontario Potato Board makes a short summary of some of these.

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Sustainability trend: McCain Foods aims to power half of Maine plant with ‘solar gardens’

McCain Foods hopes to make one of America’s favorite guilty pleasures a little more virtuous with a new companywide push for sustainable production practices. As Lucas Dufalla reports for the Sun Journal, the Canadian-based company has pledged to convert to fully renewable energy at its plants by 2030, starting with the creation of five community ‘solar gardens’ to power 50 percent of its plant in Maine’s Aroostook County town of Easton on the Canadian border.

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Clamping down on PCN: New study to help farmers improve trap crop success

Improving the reliability of trap cropping to help farmers overcome potato cyst nematode (PCN) pressure, is being investigated as part of a new feasibility study, funded by Defra and Innovate UK. The project will look at ‘DeCyst solanaceous’ trap crops, which stimulate PCN to hatch at a different point in the rotation to when potatoes are planted. As a result, mature female PCN are prevented from completing their lifecycle, reducing the impact on potato crops.

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‘Waste less’: New U of I potato storage researcher aims to minimize post-harvest losses

Gustavo Teixeira knows the best way to supply more food to a growing population is by wasting less of it. As a new assistant professor and potato postharvest physiologist with University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Teixeira will use advanced scientific techniques to help Idaho potato growers, processors and shippers waste fewer of the spuds they harvest.

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Wilson’s Country hosts World Potato Congress delegation

Ireland’s hosting of the 11th World Potato Congress (WPC) at the end of May and early June culminated with 30 delegates from countries around the world visiting Wilson’s Country in Co Armagh. As the Belfast Telegraph reports, the event provided guests with an opportunity to observe, at first hand, how Ireland’s largest potato packing and processing operation is managed.

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Why spuds are cheap as chips in the UK – while wheat prices rocket

Commodities markets are in uproar, wheat prices have reached record highs and the cost of food is rocketing. “Yet the humble spud – a staple grown on our doorstep – is still cheap and plentiful,” writes Sarah Chambers in a news story for East Anglian Daily Times. This year’s East Anglian potato crop is looking very promising. But prices are low – making some of the farmers’ crops uneconomical.

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NRCS Idaho and Simplot teaming up to help Idaho agriculture

The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the J.R. Simplot Company signed a memorandum of agreement on June 28, outlining ways they plan to work cooperatively with their mutual customers to support crop production and conservation activities that advance soil health and water quality, as well as farm profitability.

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Irish Twitter reacts as Tayto releases ‘fizzy cola’ flavored crisps

Famed Irish crisp manufacturer Tayto has caused a social media storm with their controversial “fizzy cola” flavored crisps. As Irish Central reports, the limited-edition flavor represents a blend between Tayto’s signature potato chip and fizzy cola bottle sweets. Irish people took to social media to lambast the new flavor, with one Twitter user describing it as the “worst thing to happen to potatoes in Ireland since the Famine”.

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World Potato Congress Inc announces new President and Vice-President

Following 16 years of dedicated service to the World Potato Congress Inc.’s Board of Directors, and the past four years as President, Romain Cools has decided to retire from WPC and effective July 1, 2022 he is stepping down as President and CEO of the World Potato Congress (WPC) Inc. Mr. Cools has announced Mr. John Griffin will become the new President and CEO of the World Potato Congress (WPC) Inc.

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McCain to use digital technology to ‘transform agriculture’, acquires predictive crop intelligence technologies company

McCain Foods Limited has acquired the predictive crop intelligence portfolio from Resson, an analytics technology firm enhancing farming efficiency, based in Canada’s New Brunswick province. Resson’s vision-intelligence-based technologies leverage field data imagery to enable farmers to make better-informed decisions, leading to improved productivity from every acre of a farm.

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Soaring food prices push more Cargill family members on to world’s richest 500 list

How more sick can this world of “haves” and “have-nots” become? As Rupert Neate reports for The Guardian, a “giant leap” in global food prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has helped three members of the super-rich Cargill family, who majority-own one of the world’s largest food companies, join the ranks of the world’s 500 richest people.

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NPC President: ‘American potato industry keeps an eye on the future’

This article is by by Jared Balcom, 2022 President of National Potato Council (NPC). “Despite all the changes the nation has experienced during this pandemic, the U.S. potato industry remains as committed as ever to fighting for federal policies that protect our businesses, our families, and the communities we support. Whether it is in trade, nutritional regulations, environmental policies, or labor rules, we have seen firsthand what we can do as an industry when we stand together.”

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Global sustainable tech company TOMRA announces strategy to double revenues in five years

TOMRA revealed plans to accelerate the path to a sustainable future and double its revenues in five years at its capital markets day on 23 June in Mülheim-Kärlich, Germany. The company’s strategy is built on accelerating growth in its three core divisions, and using the current business platform to develop adjacent business opportunities. TOMRA is uniquely positioned along global megatrends, with leading market positions, best- in-class technologies, and purpose driven employees.

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Biotech Opinion: ‘Trust, Critical Thinking, and Potatoes’

This op-ed article is by Dave Douches (PhD), professor and Director of the Potato Breeding and Genetics Program and Director of the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology Graduate Program at Michigan State University, and Project Director of the Feed the Future Global Biotech Potato Partnership. “As a scientist working in potato breeding for over 40 years, one may wonder why I am talking about trust and critical thinking.”

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Vanmark’s facility in India ships first three peeler machines to customer in East Asia

Vanmark, an industrial potato and produce processing equipment manufacturer, announced earlier today that its location in Bengaluru, India, has shipped its first three peeler machines to a large customer based in China. The three peeler/scrubber/washer 2020 models, Vanmark’s best-selling models in the U.S., were fully built at the Indian facility. The machines include a new bent sheet metal frame which is more hygienic with an open frame design.

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Canadian research: Using hyperspectral imaging technology to test potato quality more quickly, efficiently

Currently, the traditional way to find out whether or not a potato is good to go to market is basic and old-fashioned – cut it open and look to see if there are defects. A new research project at Lethbridge College aims to use cutting-edge near-infrared (NIR) hyperspectral imaging technology to test potato quality such as internal defects, greening and specific gravity more quickly and efficiently.

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Platform: ‘How the humble potato is already helping end world hunger’

“Consumed by more than a billion people worldwide, including many of the world’s poorest, potato has long been one of the most important crops to avert hunger,” Senior Scientist at the International Potato Center (CIP) in Kenya, Monica Parker, said prior to the 11th World Potato Congress convened in Dublin last month. In an article published by Irish Examiner, Parker says that with vulnerable smallholder farmers undertaking around a third of global production, potato provides a crucial stopgap.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor & Publisher

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