News December 2022

World Potato Congress welcomes Potatoes USA as a Gold Sustaining Partner

World Potato Congress President John Griffin is pleased to announce Potatoes USA as the organization’s newest Gold Sustaining Partner.  “The support of Potatoes USA under the leadership of CEO Blair Richardson, who also serves as a WPC International Advisor, will continue to propel WPC forward in our mandates. These include planning for the first ever International Potato Day and in promoting the 2024 Congress, to be held in Adelaide, Australia,” Griffin said in a news release issued earlier today.

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The US state known as the ‘Potato Chip Capital of the World’

Everyone loves a good potato chip, but in Pennsylvania, they take it to the next level, writes Katherine Beck in a news story published by TastingTable. Their passion for the salty snack is so strong that the state’s unofficial nickname is the so-called “Potato Chip Capital of the World.” But more specifically, there is a “beltline” in the southern part of the state where potato chips reign supreme, according to NPR.

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Belgian potato processor Clarebout acquires Mydibel

Belgian producer of frozen chips Clarebout last week announced that it has acquired potato processor Mydibel. Mydibel is a family-run company with three branches in Belgium, employing almost 800 people. The company processes potato products, including fries, croquettes and mashed potatoes, as well as potato flakes and granules. Clarebout intends to build a new third processing factory in Dunkirk, France.

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‘Don’t mash those potential potato profits’

Let’s start the new year off talking about one of the sometimes-unsung superstars of the produce department: ‘the potato’, writes Brian Dey in this news story published by The Packer. Potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse, not to mention super tasty when prepared a multitude of ways. They’re great as a main course, side dish or snack. Brian Dey suggests three short tips on how retailers can maximize their potato sales and profits.

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Potato Corner opens 1,400th store, expands in the UK and Dubai

Flavoured fries brand Potato Corner recently opened stores in London, Dubai and its 1,400th store, further expanding its global presence to five continents. “We’re very pleased with the growth momentum of Potato Corner, and we look forward to further increase its footprint,” Shakey’s Pizza Asia Ventures, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Vicente L. Gregorio said. The brand was acquired this year by Shakey’s, a leading casual dining restaurant chain and food service group in the Philippines.

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Harnessing the power of wild potatoes to feed a climate-challenged world, while reducing agrochemical use

Scientists in South America are tapping the power of wild potatoes to breed disease-resistant and resilient varieties. The recent release of the International Potato Center’s (CIP) disease-resistant CIP-Matilde variety in Peru is the result of years of work and investment in conserving and studying potato wild relatives and using them to breed potatoes that combine characteristics that consumers want with the wild potatoes’ ability to cope with diseases and climate extremes.

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UMaine researchers testing lobster shells to thwart potato soil pathogens

Scientists at the University of Maine are evaluating if lobster shells can cultivate beneficial microbial communities that ward off soilborne potato pathogens. The novel shell-to-spud combination may connect two cornerstones of Maine’s food system and enhance the state’s circular economy. Katie Ashley, a plant science Ph.D. student in the lab of Associate Professor Jianjun Hao, is assessing how different concentrations of cooked, dried and ground lobster shells may prevent potato disease.

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Video: CIP – Innovations towards sustainable agri-food system transformation

For almost 50 years, the International Potato Center’s (CIP) research and development work in potato and sweetpotato agri-food systems has contributed to greater food and nutrition security, and economic growth, while conserving today’s biodiversity for the future. This video brings together some of the most achievements and impacts for millions of small-scale farmers and resource-poor consumers worldwide.

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British farmers outraged as Sainsbury’s sells potatoes for ‘less than the cost of production’

Farmers have been left outraged as Sainsbury’s, among other UK supermarkets, has discounted the price of potatoes in the run up to Christmas, according to a report by Grocery Gazette. As a result of the price drops, farmers and consumers on Twitter are fearing this will reduce the value of vegetables, while growers deal with added inflationary pressures, according to reporting by Farming Guardian.

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Frito-Lay declares 2022 ‘The Year of Crunch’

What does a perfect snack do? It crunches! The “crunch” factor was on top as an important component of the perfect snack in the latest Frito-Lay U.S. Trend Index. The index polled consumers on their snacking preferences and found that more than 70 percent of snackers would reach for a food with a crunch when considering their perfect snack. The Snack Index found other important snack factors included sweet (66%), salty (61%) and filling (53%).

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IFA: Potato trade buoyant in Ireland, demand starting to improve in Europe

Trade of potatoes is buoyant at present, as expected for the busiest shopping week of the year, the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) says in its weekly potato market report. Across Europe, demand for the holiday period had just started to improve. Export demand is reported to be reduced in the run up to the holiday period.

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Colombia anti-dumping duties on frozen fries:
European exporters welcome WTO appeal body ruling

Arbitrators have ruled in favour of the EU in the World Trade Organization (WTO) appeal regarding Colombia’s anti-dumping duties on frozen fries originating from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. The European Potato Processors’ Association (EUPPA) says in a news release the final and binding award confirms that these anti-dumping duties breach WTO rules and improperly restrict access to the Colombian market.

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Modern precision ag: How Black Gold Farms implements Agremo’s AI based drone system to make accurate plant stand counts

Black Gold Farms is one of the U.S.’s large geographically diverse potato producers. Three years ago, the company decided to put Agremo’s AI based drone system for determining accurate plant stand counts to the test. Since 2020, the number of fields surveyed by drones and analyzed by Agremo’s image software has rapidly increased to now include 100% of Black Gold’s potato production acres.

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U.S. potato export value increases as demand rebounds

Across the globe, restaurants are back to operating at normal capacity, borders are opening for tourism, and many consumers are looking for high-quality, nutritious food options, all leading to strong demand for U.S. potatoes, according to Potatoes USA. Fresh exports were up in some major markets, including Mexico, up nearly 7%. Fresh exports also increased to the Central American region by over 50% and South Korea by 180%.

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Canada: Potato project focuses on sustainability, bedding practices for potato crops

Traditionally potato producers in Canada use the late fall to prepare their potato beds for the following spring. The long-established process has its benefits, but also creates concerns, including loss of soil fertility, crop nutrient availability and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. A new research project at Lethbridge College will work to determine what steps can be taken to ensure the best result for producers, while also moving toward environmentally sustainable agriculture practices.

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Vanmark teams up with sister brand PFI to offer one-stop shop for customer service

Vanmark, an industrial potato and produce processing equipment manufacturer, announced today that it has added installation services to its offerings. This means that customers can now purchase Vanmark equipment with the option to have the company install it in their facilities. Installation services are offered through Vanmark’s sister company PFI.

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Virtual event: Canadian Potato Summit 2023

Potatoes in Canada magazine will host the Canadian Potato Summit 2023 as a virtual half-day event on January 12, 2023 at 12:00pm ET. The event will include live sessions focused on industry and agronomy updates from prominent leaders in the potato sector. The first presentation will be by Gary Secor, professor of plant pathology at North Dakota State University, who will talk about a new potato disease and some old potato diseases that have similar symptoms in storage.

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Potatoes South Africa announces research priorities, encourages suggestions for new ideas

Potatoes SA recently announced its research priorities for 2023. The industry body says in a news post on its website that the main intention of its research initiatives is to support potato growers in South Africa in optimising their production efficiency. The organization says it further intends to foster “a better understanding of the local potato market, as well as exploring future opportunities in creating consumer demand for potatoes in the country.”

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Next Europatat Congress to take place in Poland, June 2023

The Polish Potato Federation and Europatat are excited to announce that the next Europatat Congress will take place in the beautiful city of Gdańsk in Poland from 5 to 7 June 2023. The annual Europatat event has become a key platform to assess the state of play of the potato sector and to communicate the priorities and challenges facing the potato business in Europe and beyond.

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Filipino fries brand ‘Potato Corner’ opens first store in London

Filipino brand Potato Corner continues to expand internationally with the opening of its first branch in London. Known for serving flavored fries, Potato Corner launched its first store in Britain at the Medz Corner Food Court at Kensington High Street on December 10, according to an announcement by the Philippine Embassy in the United Kingdom.

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HELM AG and Unium Bioscience announce expansion in strategic partnership

German based HELM AG and Unium Bioscience Ltd in the UK announced today that they are expanding their recently announced strategic partnership with HELM becoming an active shareholder in Unium, effective as of now. “The ability to develop plant physiology, biological and nutrient solutions for farmers and growers is a key strategic direction and this partnership will enrich Unium´s and HELM AG´s future portfolios,” the companies say.

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Potato Business Summit: ‘A Comprehensive Analysis of the Global and North American Potato Industry’

The next Potato Business Summit will be hosted during the Potato Expo on Wednesday, January 4, 2023 at the Gaylord Rockies Resort in Aurora, Colorado. Proven to be one of the popular events during the annual Expo, it is co-sponsored and presented by the United Potato Growers of America (UPGA), the Potato Marketing Association of North America (PMA), and the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC). Those interested to attend are encouraged to register online soon.

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Just in time for Christmas: Kent Crisps launches new online shop

Kent Crisps, an award-winning Kentish snack brand in Britain, has launched a new, modern website with an online shop just in time for the festive season. Following high demand from the brand’s loyal customers, they will now be able to discover and shop the company’s entire crisp range online for the first time at kentcrisps.com. The website can be browsed in several European and other languages as well.

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The Peruvian wine made from sugary potatoes

Though wine is most often made using grapes, Winemaker Magazine explains that a plethora of other fermentable ingredients can be used as a base for your bottle of wine. But, as Nick Johnson reports for The Daily Meal, arguably the most unexpected wine base is a peculiar potato indigenous to Peru. VinePair notes that high in the Andean mountains, a man named Manuel Choqque [also called the ‘potato whisperer’] is transforming tubers into wine.

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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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‘Food waste is financial waste’: How the best steam peelers can significantly reduce food waste on vegetable processing lines

When peeling vegetables, many processing lines waste huge amounts of food – and potential revenue. With modern peeling machines, however, this can be prevented, while also reducing energy costs and water consumption. Eamonn Cullen, Marketing Manager Peeling at TOMRA Food, explains how. Food losses can be as high as 30% during mechanical peeling and 20% with low-tech steam peelers – and much of this lost revenue is preventable, Cullen says.

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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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