COVID-19 News

‘Scotland finds our quality chips to be extremely tasty’, says Wilson’s Country chairman

The growth in home cooking during the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in more families in Northern Ireland picking up packs of local potatoes for meals. It’s a development that Angus Wilson of Wilson’s Country in Craigavon, Northern Ireland’s largest potato processor, has been working towards for many years. In addition, novel potato products from the Northern Ireland company last week won acclaim for their quality and taste from retailers in Scotland in the shape of a major award for a UK producer in the influential Scottish Retail Food and Drink Awards.

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Northern Ireland potato growers to receive Covid-19 financial aid

Potato growers in Northern Ireland whose incomes have been directly impacted by the pandemic will receive financial aid, the government has announced. FarmingUK reports that the Covid-19 support package will contribute towards the verifiable losses incurred by farmers and growers during periods of lockdown. The financial aid will help to address the cash flow difficulties and financial impact of losing valuable markets.

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MountainKing’s COVID relief efforts top 1.6 million pounds of fresh potatoes for Houston Food Bank

One year after making its first COVID-19 relief delivery to the Houston Food Bank, MountainKing has now shipped more than 1.6 million pounds of fresh potatoes to the non-profit organization dedicated to providing nutritious meals to those in need. “For years, MountainKing has been a supporter of the Houston Food Bank and its mission of providing food for better lives,” notes Andreas Trettin, the company’s director of marketing.

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COVID-19 compliance costly for Washington State potato growers, packers

In a recently completed survey by the IMPACT Center at Washington State University, it was found that Washington State farm families’ direct compliance outlays to manage COVID-10 were roughly $2,532 per month. Direct compliance outlays were found to be much higher for those businesses packing potatoes at $4,340 per month.

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Second pandemic wave caused depressed British potato market

AHDB Arable analyst, Thomma Shepherd, provides an analysis of what has driven potato markets over the last few weeks. She says the weekly average price survey, covering all sectors of the industry, shows potatoes have had a depressed few months, lagging behind previous seasons. The 2nd wave of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns has killed a lot of demand for potatoes. With the majority of hospitality closed along with schools there has been little optimism within the industry.

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New Zealand: The local chippie industry under threat?

The impact of Covid-19 on the chip industry in the Northern Hemisphere is putting locally grown and processed hot potato chips at the local chippie under threat. Potatoes NZ CEO Chris Claridge is looking for Government action to protect New Zealand potato farmers from the influx of frozen fries grown and processed in Europe undercutting their locally grown equivalent.

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A marketing strategy that works: Idahoan Foods reached nearly 5 million new households since start of pandemic

Idahoan Foods saw sales of its fresh-dried mashed potato products rise during the pandemic as consumers cooked more meals at home. Consumers embraced more time at home by experimenting with new recipes, reaching for global flavors as a way to explore other cultures, and showed off their skills on social media. Idahoan tapped into these rapidly evolving consumer trends and pivoted marketing strategies throughout the year in order to connect with new households and keep encouraging consumers.

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Utz CEO: Boulder Canyon potato chips doing well with customers looking for healthier snacks

Some Utz Brands buyers are opting for snacks with healthier ingredients such as the avocado oil used to cook the Boulder Canyon potato chips, Utz Brands CEO Dylan Lissette told CNBC. The snack company has been rebranding and developing the Boulder Canyon chips since it bought its manufacturer Inventure Foods in 2017, said Lissette on CNBC’s Mad Money. “We’ve got a lot of excitement around those ‘better for you brands’,” Lissette said.

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Here’s how one of Idaho’s biggest potato farms got hundreds of workers vaccinated

One of the largest potato producers in Idaho had just days to prepare for something its leaders had been anxiously awaiting for months. With the more-contagious COVID-19 variants spreading in Idaho and cases rising again in the Idaho Falls and Rexburg regions, about a dozen nurses and staff from occupational health provider Sterling Medical vaccinated roughly 350 people employed by Mickelsen Farms, Rigby Produce and Potato Products of Idaho in four hours.

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Idaho potato crop brings in record revenue, but didn’t benefit everyone equally

The Idaho potato industry ended up doing well in 2020, despite the pandemic. The industry set an all-time record for cash receipts according to University of Idaho economists. Potatoes brought in $1.08 billion in 2020, a 13% increase compared to the year before. But, as Twin Falls Times-News journalist Colin Tiernan reports, those record revenues came with a lot of stress and didn’t benefit everyone equally.

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Pandemic slashed Belgian potato sector, processing volume down

No one could miss it in the media last year: the corona pandemic slashed the Belgian potato sector. In the 2019-2020 season, where the free market was in balance, growers and buyers were from one day to the next confronted with a global lockdown and the collapse of the demand for potatoes by the hospitality and food service sectors, says the Belgian potato trade and processing industry association, Belgapom, in a press release.

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2020 a ‘turbulent’ year for Cosun and Aviko, but positive outlook for 2021

Royal Cosun closed 2020 with a slightly higher group result than in 2019, the company says in a press release issued this week. The result was the outcome of the wide-ranging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business groups in an exceptional year. Aviko had an exceptionally turbulent year. Following its record operating profit in 2019, volume fell sharply in March 2020 when the hospitality sector was shut down during the first lockdown. But Aviko is confident it will pursue its growth strategy in 2021.

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Covid-19 outbreak among staff at Branston potato packaging plant

Multiple employees at Branston’s Perthshire potato packaging plant have tested positive for Covid-19. Staff at Branston in Abernethy were confirmed to have the virus with several more forced into isolation because of the outbreak. The company will now close down for around 36 hours from Friday to undergo a deep clean.

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Side Delights: Healthy-eating, immunity gain importance with consumers since pandemic

Side Delights revealed recently released trend data on the growing focus on the health benefits of foods and the impact it has on consumer behavior. Since the inception of the pandemic, healthy-eating and immunity has continued to gain importance with consumers, and it shows in their shopping habits. Side Delights says its potatoes are grown in the best potato growing areas, stored in high-tech storage facilities, and packed and delivered close to customers/final mile experts.

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Idaho spud industry did well in 2020 despite pandemic

The Idaho potato industry ended up doing well in 2020, despite the pandemic. The industry set an all-time record for cash receipts according to University of Idaho economists. Potatoes brought in $1.08 billion in 2020, a 13% increase compared to the year before. But those record revenues came with a lot of stress and didn

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‘Potatoes were the pandemic powerhouse’, says Potatoes USA Chief Marketing Officer

The 39th annual Southern Rocky Mountain Agricultural Conference and Trade Show started its three-day run Tuesday, Feb. 2, on Zoom and at the Ski Hi Complex in Monte Vista. John Toaspern, Potatoes USA Chief Marketing Officer, gave an overview of potato sales from March to December of last year during his 30-minute session. His report was mostly positive. Retail sales soared and continue to do so as people stayed home during the pandemic.

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Burger King France giving away potatoes to support farmers

In order to support French potato farmers who can no longer sell their produce due to restaurant closures across France, Burger King is giving away bags of potatoes. Since yesterday, Burger King has been giving away a one kilo bag of potatoes to each customer who visits a drive-thru. It comes in a bid to help French potato farmers unable to sell their produce due to widespread restaurant closures across the nation, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

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COVID impact: Potato end-Nov stocks in Britain increase above five year average

Grower held potato stocks in Britain, as at the end of November 2020, are estimated to total 3.27Mt. This is up 12.5% (363Kt) from 2019 and 4.7% (147Kt) to the 5-year average (2015-2019). An increase in GB stocks will be no surprise to many. The 2020/21 season has seen increased production alongside lacklustre demand from the impacts of the ongoing global pandemic. However, the detail shows some sectoral differences.

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Processing potato producers in France to receive financial aid for losses due to COVID-19

The French Ministry of Agriculture this week announced that potato producers who had to allocate processing potatoes to outlets other than for the process sector due to the pandemic will financially be compensated for losses incurred. Producers have until February 2 to apply online. The news site Terres et Territoires reports that ‘good things come to those who wait for it’. After six months of waiting, potato producers will finally be compensated “for the losses resulting from diverting unprocessed potatoes to other outlets, in the context of the health crisis associated with the Covid-19 pandemic”.

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Supply chain sustainability the focus for McCain

Lockdown had led to a sudden shift from a crop shortfall following weather challenges last season to a surplus for potato giant McCain, as it lost 50 per cent of sales overnight. The last 10 years have thrown up multiple climate challenges for potato growers and McCain was looking to help create certainty for farmers and build supply chain resilience. Daniel Metheringham, McCain head of agriculture, said: “This time last year we were sat in the midst of a crop crisis because of weather volatility. When we hit Covid-19, all of a sudden we went from a crop shortfall to a crop surplus.”

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