New Zealand, Australia

PepsiCo Australia and New Zealand appoints new Chief Marketing Officer

PepsiCo Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) has announced the appointment of Vandita Pandey to the newly created role of Chief Marketing Officer for both snacks and beverages. Pandey comes from Frito-Lay (a PepsiCo company) in the United States where she has spent the last 11 years in roles that span across marketing, corporate strategy, insights and media. Her latest role was General Manager, Bare Snacks.

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Another Scotts Evolution Dirt Remover sent to Wyma in New Zealand

A UK manufacturer of vegetable harvesting equipment has seen a surge in demand for its unique vegetable handling machine from customers in New Zealand. Scotts Precision Manufacturing has this month sent its fourth Evolution Dirt Removers to Wyma, which has included the innovative separator in a cleaning line that will be used by a large scale potato packer in Canterbury.

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Video: Australian potato grower speaks out about the health benefits of potatoes

In this video, Kerri Ann Lamb tells the story of her family’s potato-growing business at Wickham Farms, Killarney, Queensland in Australia. Kerri is fourth fourth generation potato farmer. Says Kerri: “Our potatoes are planted in October, so they’ll be ready to harvested in February. It will be harvested and sent to the pack house in February and they’ll be sold fresh n supermarkets as brushed potatoes as well.

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European potato ‘dumping’ hurting New Zealand growers and industry

According to a report by Toni Williams for Rural Life in New Zealand, an influx of European potato fries into New Zealand has already impacted on domestic growers, with less product planned for growing and staff job losses. Latest figures were estimated at a surplus of 2.6million tonnes in Europe and growing due to the impacts of further lockdowns in parts of Europe.

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Potato deal strengthens Australia’s Mitolo Group as it digs in for new season

The recent finalisation of a takeover of Thomas Foods International’s potato business and a spike in demand through the coronavirus pandemic has cemented Mitolo Group as the Australia’s largest fresh spud producer. The TFI acquisition boosted Mitol’s capacity by about 20 per cent and included a second packing facility as well one farm and the lease on another. The new deal increased Mitolo’s total annual production to 125,000 tonnes of washed potatoes, 50,000 tonnes of brushed potatoes and 35,000 tonnes of onions.

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Ministerial spud: Jacinda Ardern’s Instagram post goes viral after she’s sent potato in mail

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern has skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years, and there’s no doubt she ‘s-mash-ed’ the election. Her big wide smile is ‘ap-peeling’, inspirational messages ‘spud-tacular’ – and according to election results, 49 percent of Kiwis ‘rooted’ for her, writes Crystal Wu in a news story published by Newshub.

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New Zealand govt department investigating frozen fries import threat

The New Zealand potato industry are relieved that the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) trade remedies team has now launched an investigation into the proven threat of surplus frozen fries being imported into New Zealand. This MBIE decision was based on the positive evidence the New Zealand potato industry provided in their application completed in September this year, as part of the Potatoes New Zealand (PNZ) Pandemic Industry Recovery Plan.

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McDonald’s fries sustain Kiwi potato growers after Covid-19 ‘floods of spuds’

Supplying McDonald’s with all their potatoes means a Canterbury grower has been able to avoid the worst effects of a Covid-19-inspired glut of overseas potatoes on the New Zealand market. Canterbury-based Hewson Farms produces around 22,000 tonnes of potatoes every year – 12,000 tonnes of which end up as McDonald’s fries. However, a 2.6 million tonne surplus of the vegetable in Europe – floods of spuds – is causing headaches for New Zealand growers and processors.

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Study found that potato based diet does not disturb blood sugar control in diabetes

Researchers have found for the first time in a rigorously controlled clinical trial that people with diabetes don’t need to avoid potatoes. It is often said that potatoes with high glycemic index should be avoided by diabetics as they may adversely affect blood sugar. But the study indicates that glycemic index is not an accurate surrogate for an individual’s glycemic response (GR) to a food consumed as part of an evening meal. The researchers concluded that potatoes are a vegetable that is sustainable, affordable and nutrient-dense, and thus, they can play an important role in modern diets irrespective of metabolic health status.

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Aussie potato squabbles: Good and bad news for Tasmanian potato growers on fresh potato imports

The review of the decision by Biosecurity Tasmania on fresh potato imports comes with a couple of modifications to the original decision which upset Tasmanian potato growers. Biosecurity Tasmania has also been given a slap on the wrist by Primary Industries Minister Guy Barnett for the way in which the decision was made without consultation. And the company which won the approval to bring potatoes into the state says the process to get the go ahead has been a waste of time as none wants to market the spuds.

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Australia: Former plant protection officer delivers review into potato imports into Tasmania

Approval to grant a South Australian company a licence to import potatoes into Tasmania will remain unchanged following an independent review, according to a report by Caitlin Jarvis of The Exminer. Jarvis reports that former federal chief plant protection officer and plant pathologist Lois Ransom handed her findings into the controversial decision on Monday. Ms Ransom found the decision to approve a conditional import licence for “ware potatoes” – or potatoes for human consumption – to Mitolo Group was technically sound.

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McCain opens ‘world class’ potato storage facility in Australia

A McCain storage facility capable of storing 11,000 tonnes of potatoes has opened at South Burnie, a locality and suburb of Burnie, in the North West region of Tasmania in Australia, according to a report by Sandy Powell for The Advocate. Sandy writes that the facility, which can hold 9,000 tonnes of potatoes in cold-storage long term, as well as a further 2,000 tonnes in short term storage, is run by McCain Foods. Plant operator Rodney Smith said the facility is truly “world-class”.

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Aussies ‘up in arms’: Tasmanian supermarkets will not stock imported potatoes

Tasmanian supermarkets have thrown support behind the state’s potato producers, confirming they will not stock imported potatoes, according to a report by Caitlin Jarvis published by The Examiner in Australia. Caitlin reports that a conditional import licence was approved in June for South Australian company Mitolo Group to import fresh potatoes into Tasmania. However, the products will not end up on supermarket shelves. Coles, Woolworths, and Island Fresh, which operates the IGA chain of independent supermarkets, on Monday confirmed they would not stock the imported SA potatoes in Tasmania.

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PEF technology: McCain ‘dishes up hot chips with a side of lower greenhouse gas emissions’ in New Zealand

McCain Foods’ Timaru plant is reducing its energy usage environmental impact, now looking to electrification, by installing New Zealand-first McCain proprietary technology. The business has now slashed its coal consumption by installing technology which was developed and is owned by McCain, Pulsed Electric Field technology (PEF). Contributing to the business’s global commitment to a 50 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions of our plants by 2030, the PEF system means the company will save approximately 4,800 tonnes of carbon each year.

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Potatoes New Zealand issues technical bulletin on Potato Tuber Moth management

As New Zealand Spring and Summer rolls towards potato growers, so too do the myriad of pest and disease management activities. One of the greatest challenges especially for growers, is the control of Potato Tuber Moth (PTM). Potatoes New Zealand’s recently completed PTM literature review looks at the various control approaches to this pest and suggests an integrated approach to PTM management. The review of scientific publications from the last 10 years on potato tuber moth research, focusses on several management options.

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New potato packing facility in Australia

Australia potato supplier, Pye, will invest $35 million in a new potato packing facility at Parilla, 210 kilometres east of Adelaide in South Australia’s Mallee. Pye group director, Mark Pye, said the new washing and packing facility at Parilla will double the production capacity of the company’s existing Virginia potato packing facility, and will “feature the best available optical grading and automated packing technology to revolutionise the way in which we process potatoes.”

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Balancing spuds and sustainability: McCain Foods Ballarat aims high with water use reduction targets smashed

In Australia, McCain Foods Ballarat has achieved an improvement of 20% in its water use efficiency over the past 12 months – smashing the plant’s 2% target set in the recently released Be Good. Do Good. Sustainability report. The company says its focus on Growing Green and Golden stems from the company’s vision towards a low- carbon economy in Australia and New Zealand by concentrating on emissions, waste, investment in renewable electricity and more sustainable use of packaging and water.

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Robbie Davis to step down as CEO Potatoes South Australia Inc

Following eight years at the helm of Potatoes South Australia, Robbie Davis will be stepping down from her role of Chief Executive at the end of 2020. The change comes as the Association moves into new territory with a greater emphasis on Brand Australia and growing national significance of the world’s 3rd largest food crop to the Australian horticulture industry. Despite this inevitable and exciting new challenge, Robbie believes it is the right time to say farewell to the representative body she has built with the help of a band of dedicated stakeholders from all sectors.

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PhD opportunity in Australia: ‘Development of molecular diagnostic tests to detect key plant parasitic cyst nematodes’

Details about this project are published on the Australasian Plant Pathology Society’s Jobnet. It entails the “Development of molecular diagnostic tests to detect key plant parasitic cyst nematodes in soil and in planta that impact Australian agricultural production and restrict market access”. This project proposes to build Victoria’s capability to detect and identify plant parasitic cyst nematodes using molecular techniques.

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Pure Foods Tasmania to acquire Daly Potato Company

It was widely reported in Australian media that Pure Foods Tasmania is planning to buy the business and assets of Daly Potato Company for $1.8 million. Daly Potato Company emerged from a 30-year-old farm owned by the Daly family on Tasmania’s southeast coast. Its premium potato salads are sold to major supermarket chains including Woolworths, Coles and Metcash with sales growing in the last three years from $211,000 to $2million.

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McCain Australia and New Zealand resumes normal production after Covid induced backlog

With Kiwis eating fewer hot chips during lockdown, one of New Zealand’s largest potato chip manufacturers was forced to cut production significantly for six weeks at its Timaru factory until the backlog was cleared. McCain Foods agriculture director Australia and New Zealand John Jackson said the company’s factory at Washdyke, Timaru, had reduced its usual 24/7 production to five day a week shifts when stock built up due to reduced orders. Fifteen weeks after takeaway food businesses and restaurants were allowed to re-open, the factory has returned to normal production.

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New Zealand: Submissions open on new potato herbicide Soleto

The Environmental Protection Authority in New Zealand says it is seeking views on an application to import or manufacture Soleto, a broad spectrum herbicide for potatoes. Soleto contains the active ingredient metobromuron, which is approved in Europe but not currently in New Zealand. The applicant, Belchim Crop Protection, wants to import Soleto for the control of broadleaf weeds in potatoes, using ground-based application methods.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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