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GB Potatoes: Newly launched trade body aims to ‘bring the industry together’ through all-sector representation

A brand-new industry body, GB Potatoes Ltd, was launched the past week. GB Potatoes says it plans to unite the UK potato industry and work with existing produce trade associations to represent the potato sector’s interests and future development in the wake of AHDB Potatoes discontinuation. Mark Taylor, Inaugural Chair of GB Potatoes said, “Our launch couldn’t come at a more important time for the GB Potato Industry. The Great British Potato needs to be championed!”

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Reducing virgin plastic: PepsiCo UK invests in new sustainable food packaging innovations

PepsiCo UK announced a £14 million investment in new sustainable food packaging innovations that will remove 250 tonnes of virgin plastic from its supply chain annually. The outer plastic packaging on millions of Walkers 22- and 24- bag multipacks will be replaced with a new cardboard design which reduces the amount of virgin plastic the company uses. The new outer packaging will be on-shelves in all major supermarkets in the UK in the coming weeks.

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Company develops technology to produce egg protein in potatoes

Maya Sapir-Mir and Raya Liberman-Aloni, co-founders of the Israeli start-up PoLoPo, have developed a technology capable of producing egg protein (ovalbumin) in potatoes. PoLoPo believes that ovalbumin is ‘just the beginning’. “We also believe we have another product: a high-protein potato. Potato protein is highly commercial and has a lot of functionality, similar to ovalbumin.”

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New study: No association between potato consumption and elevated cardiometabolic disease risk

Researchers at Boston University examined the influence of potatoes as part of overall diet and lifestyle patterns on cardiometabolic disease risk. They found no change in cardiometabolic risk factors associated with intake of either fried or non-fried potatoes in adults from the long-running Framingham Heart Study (which began in 1971). This research was supported by the Alliance for Potato Research and Education (APRE).

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Teton Russet marks newest potato variety to be used for McDonald’s ‘World Famous Fries’

The Teton Russet potato variety has now been added to the list used for McDonald’s ‘World Famous Fries’, according to a news release issued by the Potato Variety Management Institute (PVMI). With this acceptance, the Teton Russet becomes the ninth variety of potato to be used by McDonald’s in North America. The Teton Russet has already begun rolling out to suppliers/restaurants as early as August.

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New broad-spectrum antibiotic comes from a pathogenic bacterium in potatoes

The growing threat of antimicrobial resistance has led researchers to search for new compounds everywhere, according to a news release issued by the American Society for Microbiology. This week in mBio, a multinational team of researchers in Europe report the discovery of a new antifungal antibiotic named solanimycin. The pathogenic potato bacterium Dickeya solani, which produces solanimycin, was first identified more than 15 years ago.

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World Potato Congress Inc welcomes new Executive Director

The World Potato Congress President, John Griffin, would like to extend a congratulations and warm welcome to the industry body’s new incoming Executive Director, Ellen Kouwenberg. She will be replacing outgoing General Manager, Brian Douglas. She brings experience to the World Potato Congress through her global connections, facilitating incoming and outgoing agricultural missions and trade shows involving countries in North Africa, Central and South America, Philippines, USA, and the Middle East.

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Targeted fertiliser application: Stocks AG’s rotor meter saves Jersey Royal Company £300,000

In the last six years, one of the UK’s leading potato growers has saved over £300,000 through an unconventional but highly effective use of Stocks AG’s Rotor Meter. In 2020 Stocks AG developed the i-CON system to control and maintain pre-set application rates and subsequently fitted it to The Jersey Royal Company’s machines. Further reductions in fertiliser use followed.

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HZPC CEO positive, says ‘results good, and company back on course’

In the 2021/2022 fiscal year, HZPC managed to bring its results back on course after a challenging 2020/2021 fiscal year. Says Gerard Backx, CEO HZPC: “Times remain uncertain. The fact that in 2021/2022 we brought the profit figure back in line with our ambitions makes us cautiously positive about the results for the coming years.”

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From the humble potato comes a sustainable Canadian chip company

A Puslinch (Guelph) potato chip company is taking the lead on crunching down on single-use plastics to inspire other businesses. Humble Potato Chips offers salty snacks that come in plastic-free, compostable bags made with plants. The bags are Industrial Compostable Certified and can break down in municipal or commercial composting systems in 90 to 180 days.

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Largest grant in Univ of Idaho history to incentivize climate-smart agriculture

University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is set to receive up to $55 million — the largest award in the university’s history — to help Idaho farmers and ranchers combat climate change through agricultural practices. U of I’s grant will directly benefit more than 100 Idaho farmers and ranchers. Research will focus on the state’s staple commodities, such as potatoes, beef, sugar, wheat, barley, hops and chickpeas. The grant will drive climate-smart practices on about 10% of Idaho’s active cropland.

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Fingerling ‘Ozette’ potato variety grown by Indigenous farmers for ‘hundreds of years’

Jacob Beaton reaped a bounty of Ozette potatoes from his Tea Creek Farm in Kitwanga in northwest B.C. last week – but they aren’t the kind of potatoes you’d find at the supermarket. He says they are one of the oldest kinds of potatoes that Indigenous people grew in the coastal areas of what is now British Columbia, and by the Makah Nation in what is now the northwest tip of Washington state.

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Microbiome project: Tools to optimize potato microbiome could reduce the use of agrochemicals

A project aimed at developing new tools to predict and optimize potato plant growth by mapping the microorganisms living on seed potatoes has been awarded 940.000 Euro in funding. A promising strategy to reduce the use of these agrochemicals, is to optimize the composition of beneficial microorganisms living on the plant. These microorganisms support growth and strength, creating a natural defense mechanism for potato plants.

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12 McDonald’s locations that went rogue

From an airplane to an ancient ruin, yes, you can get fries with that, writes Sam Lin-Sommer, Gastro Obscura Editorial Fellow in this article. For a chain that prides itself on conformity, McDonald’s boasts some rebels among its franchises, Lin-Sommer writes. In Taupo, New Zealand, kids eat Happy Meals inside a red-and-silver 20-seater airplane from 1943. Sometimes, the chain’s deep fryers sit atop historical artifacts.

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Scottish MP continues campaign for seed potato exports post-Brexit

Gordon MP Richard Thomson has continued his campaign to restore access to the export markets in the EU and Northern Ireland for Scottish seed potatoes. Prior to Brexit, Scottish seed potatoes were a crucial import for European markets.  However, since January 2021 Scotland’s farmers have been unable to export seed potatoes to the EU, including Northern Ireland, because of changes in trade regulations as a result of Brexit.

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Idaho potato acreage and yields down for 2022-2023 crop

Potato acreage is down and yields are relatively low in Idaho. “Growers aren’t feeling very positive about their yields – they’re looking to be lower,” Ryan Wahlen of Pleasant Valley Potato told FreshPlaza’s Astrid Van Den Broek. Wahlen says there’s no doubt that the market on average this year will be higher than last year. “And potentially we could see the peak season pricing be higher than last year,” he says.

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Shoppers warned of shorter chips after heatwave and drought blights Britain’s potato crops

Farmers warned supermarkets will be selling shorter chips and smaller potatoes after a lack of rain this summer impacted crops. Tim Rooke, chair of the National Farmers Union’s potato forum, said the industry had struggled. He said the summer had been “very difficult” for the industry, with the yield for those who had not been able to irrigate their crops down between 25 percent and 40 percent.

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Maine potato farmers are ready with extra storage after 2021’s stellar crop

With about half of Aroostook County’s potato crop out of the ground, some farmers are already using extra storage they planned after last year’s bumper crop. At least right now, there’s no word of farmers running out of storage space, said Don Flannery, Maine Potato Board executive director. Irving Farms staff in Caribou reported the 2022 crop is exceeding their expectations.

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British dad with over two million viewers online goes viral, revealing real life on a potato farm

A Yorkshire dad in Britain has gone viral after sharing how he makes crisps on a farm. ‘Yorkshire Farm Lad’ on TikTok has over two million viewers, and over 79,600 followers, is a farmer and contracter from North Yorkshire. The young farmer, who has a baby boy, works on a large farm in Boroughbridge, Harrogate. Social media lovers revel in his traditional job where he spends his days harvesting, fixing tractors, looking after cattle, stacking hay bales and more.

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Irish potato excellence: Potato starch innovation merits awards for Meade Farm in Ireland

The quality and innovation behind its potato starch saw Meade Farm, based in Ireland, recently recognised across four different award programmes. The family agribusiness won a gold medal at the Irish Quality Food Awards 2022; the Best Supply Chain Team of the Year award at the National Procurement Awards; the Circular Economy Leadership Award and the overall Grand Prix Award at the IMR Irish Manufacturing and Supply Chain Awards.

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Tissue culture tech boosts Kenya’s potato yields

A community project that provides farmers with healthy potato seeds, cultivated using innovative laboratory techniques is significantly increasing yields in Kenya, an agricultural expert says. Kenya’s average potato yield per hectare is around ten tonnes but has the potential to increase to three times that amount with the use of disease-free seed, according to Anthony Kibe, principal investigator of a potato community action research project.

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Global potato market report: ‘Global supply to be lower’

It looks like being a tough season for potatoes across much of the world. The hot dry weather during the growing season in most production countries has had a severe effect on potatoes, as for many other crops, as FreshPlaza reports in an extensive overview of the potato market situation in many potato producing regions and countries around the world.

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British potato yields suffer in the dry with high storage costs to come

Potato yields in Britain are down significantly this season due to the hot, dry spring and early summer weather, and for growers putting spuds into cold storage there is the double whammy of higher electricity costs along with lower tuber numbers. The cost of electricity was about £21-22/t for long-term storage on the farm last year, says Mark Means in Norfolk. This season prices had reached £82/t.

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Lamb Weston’s processing plant in Oregon fined for groundwater contamination

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a $127,800 fine Tuesday to Lamb Weston’s Hermiston potato processing plant for repeated wastewater violations that contaminated the groundwater in nearby communities. Lamb Weston spokesperson Shelby Stoolman said the company takes environmental compliance seriously and is carefully reviewing the information it received from DEQ.

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Royal Avebe’s fertilisation strategy said to help potato growers achieve ‘significantly higher starch yields’

Due to the current scarcity of fertilizers, the ‘red areas’ and the increasing production costs, efficient nitrogen fertilization is becoming increasingly important. Patrick Riek, account manager at Royal Avebe, has full confidence in a nitrogen-reduced fertilization strategy for good cultivation and fertilization advice, as the company notes in a recent news release.

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