New Zealand, Australia

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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Australian shoppers urged to eat smarter and add more potatoes to supermarket trolleys

Australians stockpiling groceries to prepare for COVID-19 are being warned against wasting food by a leading Australian authority. “International experience tells us that food becomes much more valued during these trying times, and in turn everyone should focus on reducing their food waste,” Dr Lapidge said. Potatoes South Australia is launching a five-day social media campaign telling buyers to think about alternatives to emptying supermarket shelves of dry staples like pasta and rice.

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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…]

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Mini potato bites dubbed the 'must-have' Aldi buy by Aussies

Of the thousands of products sold in Aldi stores across Australia, customers have dubbed the Maitre D’ Potato Gratin as the ‘must have’ buy of 2020 so far. Priced at a mere AUS$3.69, the miniature frozen potato bites are ideal for family dinners or lunch treats. Hundreds of happy customers praised the product on Facebook with many describing the item[Read More…]

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PepsiCo New Zealand changes cooking oil, reducing amount of saturated fat in chips

PepsiCo New Zealand is committed to reducing the saturated fat, sodium and added sugars for Kiwi consumers, Potatoes NZ reports. Exciting news from the potato crisp industry recently, as PepsiCo NZ evolve healthier processing for NZ’s favourite snacks. The maker of Bluebird potato chips and other snacks, has changed the cooking oil for its major snack brands to canola oil.[Read More…]

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Australia's famous Big Potato for sale for $920,000

If you’ve always wanted to own Australia’s famous Big Potato, here’s your chance. The big spud, located in the town of Robertson has a price guide of $920,000. Modelled on the Sebago potato variety, the Big Potato was built in the mid-1970s by potato grower Jim Mauger.

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Potatoes South Australia and industry band together to send wooden bins to fire ravaged Kangaroo Island

In response to the horrific bushfires on Kangaroo Island, Potatoes South Australia Inc has come up with some very practical assistance. Saddened by the devastating impact of the bushfires local farming communities in many parts of Australia, the unprecedented fires that have ravaged more than one third of Kangaroo Island are of particular concern for its members, stakeholders and their[Read More…]

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Collaborative approach to be highlighted at potato conference

Putting potato research into practice is the theme of this year’s influential SAC Association of Potato Producers’ annual conference in Perth – and it will feature the views of SRUC’s new tattie guru, Dr Phil Burgess. The newly appointed lead potato researcher and consultant for Scotland, he is to use his first public appearance in his role to highlight the[Read More…]

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Most Aussies not impressed to see their favourite dessert as a chip flavour

One of Australia’s favourite desserts is becoming a chip and people aren’t loving the idea. News that Smith’s is making a lamington-flavoured chip has not received a positive reaction from news.com.au readers, with more than 80 per cent on our Facebook poll saying ‘no’ to the new incarnation. (Smith’s is a British-Australian manufacturing company best known for its crisps/chips). A lamington is[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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