New Zealand, Australia

Australia: Industry insider reveals frustrating reason for empty Coles fridges

The hot chip shortage has now hit close to home [in Australia], with the internet divided over a recent photo of an empty Coles fridge, writes Joanne Tran in a news story published by The Daily Telegraph. In a now-viral Reddit post, a user shared a snap of the frozen chips section at their local Coles, and shockingly, it was completely empty.

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Australian supermarkets place buying limit on frozen chips

Australian supermarket giant Coles has introduced a two-item limit on frozen chips after flooding across the eastern coast impacted the supply of potatoes, according to a report by 1News. A Coles spokesperson told Nine that the limit, beginning on December 15, will likely be lifted within months. “Poor weather in the eastern states has affected supply of some frozen potato products across the industry,” they said.

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‘Potatoes aren’t particularly good swimmers’: Potatoes NZ CEO warns excess wet weather may cause potato shortage

Wild weather could be taking a toll on the humble spud. The prolonged spell of wet weather has sparked concern New Zealand could be in danger of a potato shortage. Potatoes New Zealand chief executive Chris Claridge told NewstalkZB in a live interview that “potatoes aren’t particularly good swimmers and don’t like being submerged in water for long periods.” Claridge said access to the fields to harvest the crops is also hampered in the wet weather.

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Australia’s hot chip woes continue this summer

It might not be so easy to get your hands on some delicious hot chips [fries] this summer or when you do, be prepared to pay a higher price than usual. As Chantelle Francis reports for News.com.au, processed potatoes used for potato chips, crisps and other potato products are in tight supply, the industry warns.

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New Zealand: Woodchips replace coal as fuel of choice at McCain factory

It has been three years in the making, but now Timaru’s McCain plant is making chips with a woodchip boiler system instead of coal, reducing waste by 20% and making it a leader in the industry. McCain’s Timaru plant was recognised as a Climate Action Leader by the Sustainable Business Network, a social enterprise to help New Zealand businesses move into more sustainable models.

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Australia: Newly launched potato industry body seeks to build membership base

The newly-formed peak potato industry body in Australia is calling on growers and other stakeholders across the sector to become a member to help promote and grow as a united body. Potatoes Australia Ltd. Executive Officer Liz Mann says the organisation, which held its inaugural Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Ballarat this year, was primarily set up to be the voice of the potato industry value chain. “Membership is open to growers and other people in the supply chain,” Ms Mann said.

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Hot chip crisis: Spud King Tony Galati’s plan to save Western Australia from a national potato shortage

Australia is facing a potato shortage after wild east coast weather ravaged farms and delayed growers’ sowing crops — which means hot chippies are becoming scarce — but don’t worry, there’s a man with a plan, as Rebecca Le May and Elisia Seeber report for PerthNow. The Spudshed founder Tony Galati revealed to The West Australian he has brought forward a long-standing plan to add a frozen chip and potato crisp processing arm to his ever-expanding horticulture and retail empire.

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Multimillion dollar programme in New Zealand aims to provide growers with a nitrogen management tool

Sustainable Vegetable Systems (SVS) is a $7.5 million dollar multi-tiered research programme, funded by New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries, led and co-funded by Potatoes New Zealand in collaboration with the Vegetable Research & Innovation Board and Horticulture NZ. SVS provides the data and subsequent modelling of vegetable nutrient uptake and nitrogen leaching. Potatoes New Zealand recently uploaded three videos on its YouTube channel to explain the SVS programme goals and activities.

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Sustainability: Nitrogen management in the spotlight for New Zealand’s potato and vegetable sectors

The so-called Sustainable Vegetable Systems Programme (SVS) in New Zealand is in its third year and is making great progress towards improving tools and guidelines for the country’s potato and vegetable sectors’ nitrogen management. Chris Claridge, CEO of Potatoes NZ says the organization is excited to enable a more sustainable approach to vegetable growing with positive impacts on environmental, economic and social outcomes.

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Australia ‘very likely’ to face potato shortage in coming months

It’s “very likely” Australia will face a potato shortage in coming months, the vice-president of horticulture at the Victorian Farmers’ Federation has warned. Kathryn Myers from the Victorian Farmers’ Federation says recent wet weather means farmers haven’t been able to plant potato crops. “It’s just not been possible to get tractors on the ground to work up our paddocks to put potatoes in,” she told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell in an interview.

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Potato supply in Tasmania impacted by wet harvesting conditions, growers worried about planting season

Supplies of fresh potatoes in Tasmania’s supermarkets are low, with a major grower forced to temporarily halt harvesting as weather conditions make it too wet to get tractors onto paddocks. Meanwhile, Tasmania’s potato chip processors in the state’s north and their growers are feeling nervous about the continuing wet conditions. Farmers growing for big companies Simplot and McCain have about two weeks left to plant if they want good harvests next year.

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Great Wrap: Compostable bioplastic clingfilm made from waste potato peels

Australian biomaterials company Great Wrap has created a compostable bioplastic alternative to clingfilm that is made from waste potatoes. Great Wrap film consists of starch extracted from potato peels mixed with other ingredients including used cooking oil and a starchy root vegetable called cassava. The Great Wrap clingfilm can be composted in landfills or home composting systems, where it will break down within 180 days.

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Fact sheet: Managing blackleg in potatoes

This fact sheet on blackleg in potatoes was compiled by Hort Innovation and RM Consulting Group (RMCG) in Australia, and published online by AUSVEG. It provides information on management strategies of blackleg, the bacteria which commonly cause the disease, and what growers can do to prevent and manage it.

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Thai promise for Australian potatoes

Australia’s potato industry has welcomed to two key commitments realised under the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), which are set to improve access to the Thai market. Thailand has now implemented zero tariffs and removed tariff rate quotas that limited the volume of Australian seed and processing potatoes that could access the lower TAFTA tariff.

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Australia: Ballarat potato growers ask McCain for 78 per cent price increase

Potato farmers in the Ballarat region of Australia are demanding a pay rise for their produce, claiming McCain Foods does not pay a fair price. Last season McCain Foods paid growers an average of 33 cents per kilo of potatoes delivered to the local processing plant, a figure that farmers said was well below the rising cost of production. The local growers’ association had approached the processor on Monday asking for 59 cents per kilo, a 78 per cent price increase.

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Tasmanian potato growers start ditching spuds after stalemate on price negotiations with Simplot

Potato processor Simplot Australia has refused to budge on its second price offer to Tasmanian farmers for their potato crop this season, according to a report by Fiona Breen and Tony Briscoe for ABC Rural news. Farmers say the extra $105 a tonne the company put forward three weeks ago is still not enough to cover the cost of growing their crop this season, estimated to be about $20,000 a hectare. Simplot said it collectively considered every cost its growers incurred.

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Farmers struggling to make ends meet: Simplot and Tasmanian spud farmers in standoff over rising prices

Farmers have rejected a second price offer made by food manufacturer Simplot for their potato crop this season. They say the extra $105 a tonne the company has put forward is still not enough to cover the cost of growing their crop this season, which is around $20,000 a hectare. As Laurissa Smith and Fiona Breen report for ABC Rural, Sassafras farmer and contractor Scott Rockliff said inputs including fuel and fertiliser were spiralling. Farmers said they were thinking about other options, whether it be more sheep or cattle or other crops.

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Australia’s ‘Great Wrap’ founders raise $24 million to take on plastic waste

Figuring out how to turn potato waste into compostable cling wrap has helped Julia and Jordy Kay, founders and owners of the Great Wrap company, land $24 million in series A funding to take on the plastic industry. Mrs Kay, an architect, and Mr Kay, who makes natural wines, decided to tackle the plastic waste problem after noticing how much pallet wrap was generated in construction and winemaking.

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Australian farmers warn of 30 per cent potato price rise

A 4kg bag of humble potatoes is set to join iceberg lettuce in the $12 club at Australian supermarkets in coming weeks as farmers warn of a potential 30 per cent price rise. And with a price hike in potatoes comes a jump in the price of Australian’s beloved hot chips, with rises expected at restaurants, fish and chip shops, fast-food chains and pubs.

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McCain switching from coal to woodchips to make potato chips in New Zealand

A $5.6 million project to eliminate CO2 emissions and reduce demand for heating fuel at McCain’s Timaru factory in New Zealand will soon use woodchips to make potato chips. As Yashas Srinivasa reports for Stuff.co.nz, the company is converting its boiler from coal to domestically sourced woodchips, which will help McCain reduce its carbon emissions by approximately 30,000 tonnes per year.

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