Organic programs for potatoes and other products at Wada Farms Marketing Group LLC in Idaho Falls, ID, continue to grow larger every year amid ongoing work to develop ever-better varieties and to fine-tune yields, quality and storability, reports Randy Green in The Packer. “We do that year-after-year to assure that the program continues to evolve in the right direction,” Kevin Stanger, president, told The Packer.
As restaurants re-opens this week in Ireland, there is an air of optimism that the food service sector will begin to return to some form of “new-normal”, according to the IFA. Across Europe the impact of the lockdown is beginning to come to light, processing activity in Holland in May is estimated to have reduced to 65% of capacity compared to the year before and in France it reduced to 52%. The situation is improving now, however, the long-term impact is likely to be felt for some time.
The National Potato Council held their first ever virtual event this week. There’s been remarkable changes in the food system over the last few months because of COVID-19. That’s led to a lot of adjustments to the potato industry. “The versatility, the commonality and the nutritional benefits of the potato solidified our position with consumers—many of whom cooked their first potatoes at home over the past 90 days,” said Blair Richardson, CEO of Potatoes USA. Despite the hardships that COVID has presented, Richardson is still bullish for the potato industry.
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) says in its latest potato report that retail demand in Ireland remains buoyant, and as restrictions ease further on June 29th and restaurants can re-open, growers are reminded to supply the peeling market where possible. Once again rainfall across Europe in the past week was welcomed. Not everyone has had rain and some areas including Northern Holland and parts of Eastern England remain very dry.
Production and marketing are both in positive places for the Colorado potato industry. Jim Ehrlich, the executive director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, said June 24 that the 2020 crop “looks really, really good. It has been extremely dry and warmer than normal. But the crop is growing really well.”
Specialist potato grower Scutt Farming was selling 100 per cent of its 152-hectare (375-acre) potato crop to fish and chip shops when lockdown began, forcing the East Yorkshire family business to urgently find a new market. The business’ potatoes found a home as part of Morrisons ‘Wonky’ range. “The Wonky range shows the public is happy to buy potatoes which are not necessarily as visually perfect as the classic pre-packed sample,” says Mr Scutt.
As a grocery cart staple, fresh produce and its bounty of categories has been one guarantee during the tumultuous past couple of months. In fact, when Kayla Webb of AndNowUKnow checked in on the potato market with Bushwick Potato Commission, Ken Gray confirmed that, if anything, the pandemic has highlighted the value and versatility of fresh potatoes for families in the United States.
With consumer demand rising for environmentally responsible and sustainable products, Ontario based EarthFresh announced today that the company has updated their packaging with new biobased material. These new mesh packs are all USDA Certified Biobased Products made with CLAF® Biobased Fabric™. The mesh bags are made with renewable raw materials derived from sugarcane. These packages are 96% bio-based and 100% recyclable.
The 2020 storage season is the 1st where store managers in Europe cannot apply Chlorpropham (CIPC) in store. AHDB Potatoes in the UK initiated two webinars where growers and store managers will be informed on the latest developments in this regard by experts from Sutton Bridge CSR, Adrian Cunnington and Adrian Briddon. The webinars will focus on storing for the processing and fresh sectors respecctively.
Light conditions in retail stores may contribute to potato greening, says a team of researchers at the University of Tasmania in their recently published study on this subject. In this study, the research team says they aimed to develop a “potato tuber greening risk rating model” for retail stores based on light quality and intensity parameters. Greening risk, which varied between stores, was found to be related to light intensity level, and partially explained potato stock loss in stores.
The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) reports in its weekly potato update that demand at retail level remains strong, given that the majority of people are still working from home. Recently released figures show potato area similar to 2020. If yields take a hit from the drought this will leave production significantly below 2019. The UK and Europe have gotten some rainfall in the past week. However, like in Ireland there is considerable variation on amounts in different areas.
EarthFresh has been making waves in the supplier world since its inception in 1963. Its organic varieties have helped catapult it to a leading position in the organic potato market in North America. To learn more about this dynamic company, Anne Allen of AndNowUKnow spoke with Dan Martin, Chief Operating Officer.
In a matter of weeks, COVID-19 upturned lives and livelihoods in Australia, New Zealand and around the world. One of the responses we’ve seen as people have adjusted and then readjusted to a new normal is a change in consumer behaviours.
Retail potato sales soar, increasing 10.4% in dollar sales and 9.3% in volume sales between July 1, 2019 and May 19, 2020, according to IRI. All potato categories across the retail store, except deli-prepared sides, increased in dollar and volume sales, according to a report by Potatoes USA. Fresh, frozen, dehydrated, and canned potatoes saw double-digit increases in both dollar[Read More…]
SuperValu has forecasted that it will sell €2.5 million worth of new Irish potatoes this year, as overall potato sales across its store network is set to reach €37 million this year. Tommy Kennedy, owner, K&K Produce said that working with SuperValu has allowed it to expand its company and it now employs 80 staff.
UPGC: Difficult two months with unexpected oversupply of processing potatoes as fry sales decrease during pandemic
According to the latest market report issued by the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC), many Canadian potato growers have been dealing with a difficult two months with an unexpected oversupply of processing potatoes as a result of decreased sales of French fries, as sit-down restaurants shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a report by Anthony Speight, Analyst at AHDB, the month of May has been relatively static across the industry in general. The initial lockdown caused a divergence in demand between the retail and food service sector. Speight writes in his report: “We have since seen their respective demand stabilise momentarily and we are at a juxtaposition that relies on further uplifting of lockdown restrictions for demand to increase.”Throughout May we had increased reports of chip shops reopening. Outlets that featured on take out apps, mostly in built up urban areas have reported to have a successful customer base.
Jordan Okumura of AndNowUKnow reports that “the awesome potato has been a hotter category than usual as of late, with demand spiking through the spring months. As we get our foothold in June, the potato market is finding some stability for Eagle Eye Produce, though the consumer’s passion for the produce item is staying strong.”
With the Farmers to Families Food Box Program underway across the country, companies are busy packing and sending fresh produce to food banks. Chris Koger of The Packer provides a round-up of recent COVID-19-related news. As far as potatoes are concerned, Koger writes that Potatoes USA is connecting with industry members through a new video series, Keeping It Current, to explain what the organization has been doing during the pandemic.
Consumers have been urged to seek out British potatoes on supermarket shelves to help East Anglia’s growers shift the huge surplus generated by the loss of lockdown demand from chip shops and restaurants. The coronavirus pandemic left thousands of tonnes of potatoes stranded in stores as the food service sector closed down. Some have been redirected to retailers, others have been sold directly from farm shops and delivery schemes, or sold off as animal feed.
Potato production in Tenerife will significantly decrease this year due to a wind storm that hit the island in late February, which wiped out a good part of the extra-early potato crop. And then there was also damage done by the Guatemalan moth plague that has been affecting Tenerife farmers for more than 20 years.
Wisconsin spuds had a shaky start to the COVID-19 pandemic, but high consumer demand has put potatoes in a good spot, says the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association. “The retail demand increased tremendously with the advent of COVID,” Executive Director Tamas Houlihan said. “Grocery store sales were through the roof, people were stocking up, and they weren’t buying the usual 5 and 10 pound bags. They were buying as much as they could.”
It was common for a fruit or vegetable to be having a good winter in terms of volume, pricing and demand, and then in mid-March, when lockdowns began, the item would see a sudden demand surge then crash. Greg Johnson, Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services reports. Johnson writes that no produce item shows this pandemic effect as clearly as potatoes, whose average F.O.B. price has been about half of what it was in early March, as demand has been significantly damaged by restaurant, school and institution closures.
Mitolo Family Farms will strengthen its grip on Australia’s potato industry following an agreement to purchase Thomas Foods International’s fresh potato business, The deal announced between the two South Australian family-owned companies came about after Mitolo Family Farms Managing Director Frank Mitolo approached TFI CEO Darren Thomas about selling the potato business several months ago.
According to a report published earlier this week by the Washington Ag Network, the National Potato Council and state grower organizations wrote Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue last week to talk about potatoes that have nowhere to go for processing. According to the Council, more than 1.5 billion pounds of fresh potatoes for processing and potato products are trapped in the supply chain with no likely customers.