North America

Frito-Lay accused of deceiving customers with labeling of artificially flavored potato chips

Legal Newsline reports that Frito-Lay North America Inc. is accused of misleading consumers by failing to disclose on the front label that its Ruffles cheddar and sour cream potato chips contain artificial flavoring, a class action lawsuit alleges. “Other brands of cheddar and sour cream ridged potato chips contain cheddar and sour cream seasoning with artificial flavor and identify their products as ‘Artificially Flavored’ on the front label,” the complaint says.

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US: Why there will soon be tons of toilet paper, and what food may be scarce, according to supply chain experts

Stuck rationing toilet paper because you didn’t stockpile during the coronavirus panic over the last few days? Don’t worry, according to supply chain experts. “All the grocery stores are going to have pallets of toilet paper sitting in the aisles, and nobody is going to buy it, because who needs to buy toilet paper when you’ve got a year’s worth sitting in your garage?” Daniel Stanton, a supply chain expert. “The [food] brand that you normally want may not be available. But, hey, there’s some other kind of pasta. Or instead of rice, we’re going to have potatoes for dinner,” Stanton says.

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Potato specialists provide guidelines on mitigating early planting risks

It’s really a very simple formula: increase the length of the growing season and increase the potential yield and profits from a potato crop. There isn’t much that can be done to avoid a season-ending frost sometime during the fall, so perhaps the most feasible way to extend the season is to plant the crop early, say potato specialists Mike Thornton and Nora Olsen at the University of Idaho. When making decisions on when to start planting, growers should be aware that there are also some substantial risks involved

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US: Western Potatoes grows potato seed for Frito-Lay

If you’re in the Panhandle and open up a bag of Frito-Lay potato chips, chances are good the potatoes came from one of the Western Potatoes locations in Alliance, Kansas or Colorado, according to an article published by the Star-Herald. Western Potatoes grows chip potatoes and seed potatoes in Alliance, Lincoln, Kan., and Holyoke, Colorado. They grow seed only in Gordon. The employee-owned operation is one of the largest seed growers for Frito-Lay, and has been working with the company since the late 1970s.

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Canada: PVY in 2019 New Brunswick crop near lowest levels since regulatory caps began

Recent research presented at the N.B. Potato Conference and Tradeshow, Feb. 6th 2020, has highlighted the low levels of Potato virus Y (PVY) in the 2019 seed harvest in New Brunswick, Potato Country magazine reports. PVY levels in the N.B. industry have dropped dramatically since 2009. Average PVY level in all tested potato seed lots harvested in 2009 was 11.8%, which over a decade dropped to only 0.63% in the 2019 harvest.

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Washington State trial program: Helping potato growers diagnose seed-borne issues

A Washington state trial program highlights the seed-borne diseases impacting potato crops across the region. The Washington Commercial Potato Seed Lot Trial has been conducted for 56 years since 1961. This useful trial also helps individual growers diagnose seed-borne issues that occasionally show up in their crop. Prof Carrie Huffman Wohleb at Washington State University explains how it works in an article published by American Vegetable Grower magazine.

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Coronavirus Opinion: When a danger is growing exponentially, everything looks fine until it doesn’t

There’s an old brain teaser that goes like this: You have a pond of a certain size, and upon that pond, a single lilypad. This particular species of lily pad reproduces once a day, so that on day two, you have two lily pads. On day three, you have four, and so on. Now the teaser. “If it takes the lily pads 48 days to cover the pond completely, how long will it take for the pond to be covered halfway?” The answer is 47 days. Moreover, at day 40, you’ll barely know the lily pads are there.

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Idaho stores somehow selling out of potatoes

Odd as it may sound, Idaho retailers have been experiencing fresh potato shortages lately, John O’Connell of Post Register reports. Several produce departments throughout the Gem State were sold out of every potato consumer bag and loose spud by Tuesday, as consumers seeking to stock their pantries for the coronavirus outbreak bought foods that store well by the cartload. “It is strange. I didn’t think I’d ever see a shortage, at least at the store level, of potatoes in Idaho,” said Travis Blacker, industry relations director with the Idaho Potato Commission.

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Coronavirus in the US: ‘There is plenty of food in the country’

Americans have been alarmed by empty grocery shelves, but while food suppliers and retailers say they are struggling with surging demand, they insist the supply chain remains strong, write four reporters in an article published by the NY Times. The aisles and aisles of empty store shelves give the appearance that the United States, improbably and alarmingly, is running out of food. But the nation’s biggest retailers, dairy farmers and meat producers say that isn’t so.

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Power of Produce 2020 report: How’s the industry doing on increasing consumption?

The percentage of U.S. consumers who eat fruits and vegetables daily has dropped noticeably in recent years, according to the new Power of Produce report. According to an article by Ashley Nickle, published in Produce Retailer, in 2018, 48% consumers reported eating fruits and/or vegetables just about every day. In 2019, the number dropped to 41%. In the most recent report, the number is 35%.

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Potatoes USA has retailers’ backs with ‘Path to Purchase’ study

Lilian Diep is a trade news writer with AndNowUKnow. She recently wrote in an article: “I’m now privy to a wealth of resources, including Kayla Dome, Global Marketing Manager of Retail for Potatoes USA. I sat down with Kayla to find out how retailers can engage with consumers to capitalize on this staple category and maximize profits.” Below is some of what Lilian found out.

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Crop rotation: Call in a nurse. A ‘nurse’ crop, that is

Recent years have seen increased attention on the health of the soil used in potato production, and attempts to bring potatoes into longer rotations with other crops, writes Ralph Pearce, CG Production Editor in Country Guide. The challenge across much of Eastern Canada is that some rotational crops such as soybeans and dry beans don’t add much residue to the soil. Aggressive tillage on sandier, porous soils with potato production in the Maritimes also makes it difficult to maintain organic matter.

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Potato storage to be the focus of new endowed research professorship at Univ of Idaho

University of Idaho efforts to improve potato storage technology will benefit from a $1 million investment to create an endowed research professorship made possible by alumni Wayne and Peggy Thiessen and the Idaho Potato Commission. The Wayne Thiessen Potato Research Professorship will honor Wayne’s career in Idaho’s potato industry and the Thiessens’ longtime support of their alma mater. The commission is[Read More…]

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Coronavirus: Big Idaho Potato Truck tour suspended

The Big Idaho® Potato Truck tour has been temporarily suspended due to coronavirus concerns. “The safety and well-being of the Tater Team and the millions of fans we meet during our six month journey are a top priority for us,” explained Frank Muir, President & CEO, Idaho Potato Commission (IPC). “The Big Idaho® Potato Truck will be back on the road as[Read More…]

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US potato acreage expected to climb, lowering returns

The 2019 potato crop delivered lower yields in the Red River Valley and parts of Idaho, but other regions saw growth, reports Tom Karst in The Packer this week. Red, yellow and russet production totaled about 86 million cwt. in 2019, down about 8 million cwt. (9%) from the previous year. Acreage is expected to expand in 2020, but there has been no industry projection so far.

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Consumer research: Shoppers willing to buy gene-edited food if they know its benefits

The FMI Foundation in partnership with the American Seed Trade Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and the Farm Foundation, today released a consumer research study measuring market potential for gene-edited products. The nationwide survey examined U.S. consumers beliefs, awareness, and understanding of gene editing in food and agriculture, and their willingness to pay for gene-edited foods as it pertains to fresh[Read More…]

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Slim supplies continue on potatoes in North America, coronavirus influencing buyers and retailers

Potato supplies continue to be snug across North America, though how tight things are is still to be determined. “Supplies have been tight this season from the beginning,” says Ryan Wahlen of Pleasant Valley Potato in Aberdeen, ID. “I think [coronavirus] influencing the buyers a lot,” says Wahlen. “There are a few concerned who aren’t sure how heavy to carry an inventory of a perishable item. They’re worried about their work force being impacted.

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Potatoes USA considers effects of coronavirus on consumer behaviour

Tom Karst writes in The Packer today that the 2020 annual meeting of Potatoes USA proceeded as planned even as news was breaking that the NCAA decided to exclude fans from its annual post-season basketball tournament the coronavirus, COVID-19. Some potato marketers said that sales of dehydrated potato flakes have increased while foodservice fresh and frozen sales have dropped. Most said they don’t expect long-term changes in how people buy potatoes.

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Canada to invest millions into Potato Early Dying disease research

The Canadian government pledged over $2.3 million to support research into managing the Potato Early Dying (PED) disease. The horticulture sector contributed an additional $991,918 towards this research, for a total investment of over $3.3 million. The purpose of the project is said to provide potato growers with the knowledge, tools and technologies they need to manage Potato Early Dying.

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Key Technology promotes Quentin Kemph as Area Sales Manager for the South Central United States

Key Technology, a member of the Duravant family of operating companies, announces the promotion of Quentin Kemph as Area Sales Manager for the South Central United States. Kemph is responsible for bringing Key’s high performance digital sorting, conveying and other automation systems to customers that process potatoes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, snack foods, poultry and more. “During his lengthy tenure at[Read More…]

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Sustainability benefits may prompt Millennials, Gen Z to embrace GMOs and gene editing

Millennials and Generation Z are influencing the ever-evolving clean label category, and they might be willing to consider biotechnology/genetic modification as part of the category, said Nicole Rees, product director of AB Mauri North America. “They are open,” she said in a March 3 presentation at the American Society of Baking’s BakingTech in Chicago. “Why? Because it might be more sustainable. It might be a better way to do something.

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International Women’s Day: Interview with Canadian potato researcher, Dr Helen Tai

Dr Helen Tai is Research Scientist – Plant Genetics and Genomics (specializing in potatoes) at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Fredericton Research and Development Centre in the country’s New Brunswick province. AAFC recently published the interview below with Dr Tai. Even though I didn’t start out studying plants I feel very lucky to be back where I grew up, studying potatoes. I guess it’s true what they say about the apple not falling far from the tree!

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USDA grant supports potato breeding and genetics program

Michigan State University received $700,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to invest in its potato breeding and genetics program. The award is part of a $2.25 million four-part grant to support potato breeding in strategic areas across the country, which includes partnering institutions University of Minnesota, North Dakota State University and the University of Wisconsin.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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