New Zealand, Australia

McCain brings ‘Potato Smiles’ back to Australia – as ‘Emotibites’

Shoppers are racing to get their hands on McCain’s classic Potato Smiles after the nostalgic snack disappeared from Australian supermarket shelves five years ago. Thousands of Australians have been rallying for years to bring back the iconic childhood treat after it was discontinued in 2015. ‘For many Australians, these are something they’ve looked back on fondly as part of their childhood. After years of build-up, it’s heartening to know that they’re meeting expectations,’ McCain Foods marketing manager ANZ Karen Ramsay said.

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Tasmanian researchers developed ‘potato tuber greening risk rating model’ for retail stores

Light conditions in retail stores may contribute to potato greening, says a team of researchers at the University of Tasmania in their recently published study on this subject. In this study, the research team says they aimed to develop a “potato tuber greening risk rating model” for retail stores based on light quality and intensity parameters. Greening risk, which varied between stores, was found to be related to light intensity level, and partially explained potato stock loss in stores.

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Seed potato growers on Australia’s Kangaroo Island hit hard by bushfires

Kangaroo Island’s seed potato producers were all hit to some degree by the summer’s bushfires. But none more so than Peter Lock, whose home, shed and equipment on Turkey Lane west of Parndana were all totally destroyed by fire, while he lost his nearby potato crops too. “The list goes on and on, it took everything,” he said. The whole Island seed potato industry was set back by the fires and is running about 10 weeks behind schedule.

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New Zealand potato industry opposes potential dumping from Europe

Makikihi Fries in New Zealand is bracing for impact as manager Stewart Hydes pleads with Government, on behalf of the potato industry, to stop a surplus of European product being dumped in New Zealand, according to a report published by Otago Daily Times. The country’s $1billion-dollar potato industry is at threat of an influx from Europe, which is facing an officially declared 2.6million-tonne surplus of fries created by temporary food service closures during Covid-19 lockdown. Mr Hydes said dumping European surplus had the potential to be a major problem.

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How COVID-19 has increased mindful consumerism

In a matter of weeks, COVID-19 upturned lives and livelihoods in Australia, New Zealand and around the world. One of the responses we’ve seen as people have adjusted and then readjusted to a new normal is a change in consumer behaviours.

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Idaho potato farmers stuck with mountains of spuds after COVID-19 decimated demand

While Idaho will continue to be known for its famous potatoes, Gem State farmers are experiencing a major gut-punch after the coronavirus pandemic mashed the demand for potatoes, especially the ones meant for french fries. “With an excess of taters that may go to waste, farmers are scrambling to figure out what to do with the 2020 crop of spuds. After the COVID-19 pandemic forced restaurants across the country to close down there is an overwhelming number of potatoes that could go to waste, according to the Idaho Potato Commission.

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Threat of cheap imports: Ballarat workers rally for local potato processing jobs

Union delegates are demanding immediate action from the federal government to protect regional jobs from the threat of cheap imports. Alex Ford reports for The Courier. Rallying at the Ballarat McCain processing plant on Friday morning with workers, McCain representatives, and federal Ballarat MP Catherine King, AMWU state secretary Tony Mavromatis said federal authorities needed to take the issue seriously before the market was flooded with European products.

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Australia: Thomas Foods sells to Mitolo as meat and potatoes go separate ways

Mitolo Family Farms will strengthen its grip on Australia’s potato industry following an agreement to purchase Thomas Foods International’s fresh potato business, The deal announced between the two South Australian family-owned companies came about after Mitolo Family Farms Managing Director Frank Mitolo approached TFI CEO Darren Thomas about selling the potato business several months ago.

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The popular ‘New Zealand’ foods made overseas, including Wattie’s potato Pom Poms

Think your favourite food is made or grown in New Zealand? Brace yourself for some bad news. In the aftermath of the coronavirus lockdown, many Kiwis are making a conscious effort to support local businesses and brands. News that Wattie’s Potato Pom poms are made in Belgium, its apricots are sourced from South Africa, and its asparagus from Peru may be hard to swallow.

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Potatoes NZ request ‘Emergency Measures’ to ban EU frozen fry imports

Potatoes New Zealand is asking the New Zealand government to give urgent consideration to imposing short-term measures limiting the importation into New Zealand of heavily discounted frozen potato chips to avoid a food security threat. This follows the Australian Potato Industry’s move to do the same. Globally, the disruption of supply chains, and particularly sales to hospitality, by virtue of COVID-19 restrictions has led to the complete collapse of potato prices in major production centres, in particular the European Union (EU).

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Australian potato farmers outraged as $1billion COVID-19 cash splash is given to European colleagues

Australian potato farmers are outraged to discover a $1billion COVID-19 assistance package given to European growers could result in a flood of French fries into the market from overseas. An industry representative body for vegetable and potato growers, AUSVEG, said an influx of about 2.6million tonnes of excess potatoes into Australia would lock farmers out of the fast-food industry. The two biggest potato processors, McCain Food and Simplot, have been working with AUSVEG alongside other companies to address the issue

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Aussie potato growers spitting chips over European fries dumping threat

Australian potato growers are digging in for an anti-dumping fight with Europe as it reportedly threatens to flood the local market with frozen French fries. AUSVEG said potato growers faced big losses if large volumes of processed potatoes were imported from Europe as a consequence of a €650 million ($1.08 billion) COVID-19 assistance package.

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Potato prices reach record high in NZ as Covid-19 affects industry

Statistics New Zealand said today that prices rose 18 per cent in April to a weighted average price of $2.51 per kilo – an all-time high. “Higher demand and a shortage of potato pickers, many of whom stayed home due to fear of the COVID-19 virus, could explain this large price increase,” consumer prices manager Bryan Downes said.

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Australia: Past ‘Farmers of the Year’ reflect on success ahead of 2020 awards

Australian potato farmers Susie and Gerard Daly were named Farmers of the Year in 2019, and the exposure from the win has boosted their business. The family runs a potato farm in Dunalley, on Tasmania’s south-east coast, and has spent the past couple of months ramping up their business amid increasing demand due to COVID-19. “For us it’s been a godsend, in that people are staying at home and cooking so we saw the fresh potato market increase by 40 per cent nationally in the first month of the epidemic,” Ms Daly said.

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Aussie potato growers supported by public at farmers’ markets

Many industries have faced changes due to COVID-19, including potato growers. With the Great Trentham Spudfest in Victoria, Australia cancelled earlier this month due to coronavirus restrictions, the region’s growers were left without one of their biggest opportunities of the year to sell their produce. But they, along with other growers around Ballarat, have all found ways to continue selling their potatoes to the public.

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Rain decimates Tasmanian potato crop; processors fear European spuds will be dumped on Aussie market

Tasmanian potato growers, who produce the bulk of Australia’s French fries, are having a disastrous harvest. Months of wet weather is making it impossible to get onto paddocks in parts of the state. Processors Simplot and McCain Foods told the ABC they expect to lose 10 per cent of their entire crop this year. At the same time, processors fear a glut of European potatoes, caused by the shutdown of the food service sector, will be dumped on the Australian market.

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Potatoes New Zealand gearing up to achieve zero emissions goal

Potatoes New Zealand is seeking funding from the Ministry for Primary Industries for a nationwide project to transition crop production to more sustainable land management. In February Potatoes NZ adopted a new strategic objective of zero net emissions by 2050. It is now one of three central objectives for the sector including doubling export value by 2025 and increasing domestic value by 50% by 2025.

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Interview with Chris Claridge, CEO of Potatoes New Zealand

Passionate about horticulture and adding value to New Zealand’s primary produce, Chris Claridge founded Claridges Organics, one of New Zealand’s first organic food exporting businesses. In a recent interview with Sarah Perriam, Chris reflects on how the potato industry in New Zealand has suffered from the interruptions to the hospitality sector. He also discusses the NZ potato industry’s target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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Covid-19 lockdown: Fish and chip shop closures sting Kiwi potato and fish suppliers

New Zealand produces 500 million kilograms of potatoes each year and half of that ends up as frozen chips with the vast majority being sold to takeaway shops and restaurants. Potatoes New Zealand chief executive Chris Claridge said people making do by whipping up their greasies at home. ”That hasn’t made up for a drop in demand from the hospitality sector in the food service sector, which has essentially gone to zero.”

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Organic humble heroes: New Zealand’s Whitfield Organics

Organic farmers are a small but growing sector in New Zealand. Considering consumer trends and the recent law changes, it’s time to “hero” the industry, writes Gemma Carroll, Communications & Engagement Officer at Potatoes New Zealand in a recent article. Not long ago, Gemma headed over to Clive, near Hastings, to meet with Hawkes Bay organic grower Brad Whitfield. Brad is a fourth generation grower who still shares some of the work with his 80 year old dad Dave.

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Kiwi potato leadership on display: Zero net emissions by 2050

In February 2020, the Potatoes NZ board adopted a new strategic objective of zero net emissions by 2050. The Sustainable Vegetable Systems Project (SVS) is a multi-stream nationwide project that will transition crop production to more sustainable land management practices while growing resilient communities and economies.

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NZ: As COVID-19 decimates job numbers, one Kiwi industry can’t hire fast enough

Breaking the silence of a nationwide lockdown, the hum of a tractor is the only sound. Farmers are among the country’s essential workers, so farms and fields are remaining busy keeping food on Kiwis’ plates. And despite panic-buying, there is no shortage. New Zealand could survive on potatoes alone, writes Conor Whitten in an article published by Newshub Nation.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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