Fresh/ Table

British potato market update

AHDB Analyst Thomma Shepherd reports in the latest Ptoato Weekly report that free-buy markets experienced a downturn in trade this week, with most overall demand met by contracted material. Markets have seen demand dampened by the coronavirus pandemic, with Christmas parties this year restricted by government guidelines. The processing trade has seen quieter levels of demand, with free-buy prices declining slightly from last week. Much of this demand is able to be met using contracted supplies.

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In an age of biofortified food: Study reveals potato’s potential for reducing anemia

Potatoes can be an excellent source of iron. This means potatoes could play an important role in efforts to reduce iron deficiency – the leading cause of anemia, which affects about 2 billion people globally. Whereas people absorb only about 2-10% of the iron in most vegetables, 8% of the iron in pearl millet and less than 10% of the iron in beans, participants in this study absorbed 28% of the iron in the yellow-fleshed potato they ate.

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Pandemic impacts Chef endorsed UK potato brand

UK based Linwood Crops was established in 2016 by four potato specialists with over 100 years in combined experience. They set out to create a passionate business dedicated to supplying fresh Potatoes based on taste and purpose. Matt Thory, Linwood’s Commercial Director says it is clear that his passion for the brand has made the decision to agree an exit plan very difficult. Matt states that the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on market values and the closure of the hospitality sectors; unfortunately leaves minimal margins that do not offer the brand’s Royalty requirements to secure the relationship going forward.

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Production estimate: British potato production up despite tough year

The 2020 lifting window has come with its own challenges for the British potato industry, but relative to 2019 it’s certainly been more straightforward for most. As at 10 November 2020, it was estimated that just 2% of the planted area was yet to be lifted. This compares with 11% of the crop estimated to be unlifted as at 12 November 2019. The first official GB production estimate is 5.3Mt. This is based on 75% of the sample and will be updated.

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TOMRA Food and Ortofrutticola Parma: Selected quality, from the earth to the table

Ortofrutticola Parma has operated a TOMRA sorting machine since 2008 on its potato selection line, where it has processed about 180,000 tons of the company’s flagship product every year. When the time came this year to find a replacement machine that would continue to meet the need for superior tuber production, the company turned once again to TOMRA Food. The solution, which the company put into service at the beginning of May, was a new Sentinel II.

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Thanksgiving 2020: Insights into American spending, favorite meals and side dishes

Side Delights shared their findings from studies published on 2020 Thanksgiving spending and favorite Thanksgiving meals and side dishes. The data showed that almost 75% of Americans plan to spend the same amount of money or more on Thanksgiving this year, with 80% shopping at stores instead of opting to purchase online. What will they be spending the increase on? According to the National Turkey Federation, 88% of Americans indicated they will be serving turkey on Thanksgiving this year.

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Asian promise for US potatoes

US fresh potato exports to Japan have tripled in the September quarter while other markets are also driving growth in Asia. Asian markets have been a bright spot for US fresh potato exports in the September quarter (July 2020-September 2020), highlighted by significant growth in Japan.. According to data from industry body Potatoes USA, while overall export volume of fresh potatoes, including table-stock and chipping, was down 6 per cent for the quarter, in Asian markets it was up 21 per cent.

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Good news for potato lovers – especially diabetics

People with type 2 diabetes are often warned against the consumption of high GI foods, such as white potatoes, especially at night as they tend to make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels. Researchers investigated the impact of potato consumption as part of a mixed evening meal on nocturnal glycemic response. The study concluded that there was no significant difference in glycemic response after eating high GI boiled or roasted potato-based meals compared to low GI basmati rice.

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Idaho potato industry bouncing back from COVID challenges

Idaho’s iconic potato industry suffered through a major scare due to the restrictions and shutdowns imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic. But major efforts by the industry that were coordinated by the state and national groups that represent it have helped potato producers weather that storm. And one major silver lining of the challenge is that U.S. consumers have learned how important spuds are. That was one of the main messages during the Idaho Potato Commission’s annual, “The Big Idaho Potato Harvest Meeting,” which was held virtually Nov. 12.

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New Fenway Reds potato variety steps up to the plate in Maine

Last year, Green Thumb partnered with Hannaford to develop the Queen Anne potato. This year they’re partnering with Hannaford again to introduce Fenway Reds, a variety that’s new to Maine. Fenway Reds is a unique red potato; while many red varieties are oblong in shape, Fenway Reds are round and consistent. In fact, this variety is the roundest red potato ever grown at Green Thumb Farms.

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Potato deal strengthens Australia’s Mitolo Group as it digs in for new season

The recent finalisation of a takeover of Thomas Foods International’s potato business and a spike in demand through the coronavirus pandemic has cemented Mitolo Group as the Australia’s largest fresh spud producer. The TFI acquisition boosted Mitol’s capacity by about 20 per cent and included a second packing facility as well one farm and the lease on another. The new deal increased Mitolo’s total annual production to 125,000 tonnes of washed potatoes, 50,000 tonnes of brushed potatoes and 35,000 tonnes of onions.

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Abertay Univ and Agrico cooperate to develop a better potato using videogaming tech

Videogame technology will be used to help develop the perfect potato as part of a ground-breaking new project involving Abertay University and a major potato seed supplier, reports Richard Mason in a news story published by The National. The university, based in Dundee, has entered into a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Agrico UK Ltd, with the aim of utilising artificial intelligence to shorten what is normally a lengthy and complicated process, taking more than 10 years to breed a new potato variety.

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What does Lockdown 2.0 mean for the British potato industry?

Lockdown 2.0 “arrived” in Britain and this brings widespread closure of pubs and restaurants once again. Although the rules differ across the country, with Wales’ firebreak rules coming to an end, Scotland experiencing regional restrictions and England in a full national lockdown. This will inevitably effect the potato industry, but the effect is unlikely to be as dramatic as the first lockdown, according to the AHDB.

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Caledonia Potatoes: Lack of demand for new potato varieties a real risk for the industry

Caledonia Potatoes opened its doors this week to invite clients and potential clients along to a showcase of their seed potato varieties, reports Nichola McGregor for FreshPlaza. “This is a great chance to talk, and listen to our customers on a one to one basis. We do also attend tradeshows, which obviously this year is not possible, but having people here at the farm means we can spend more time with our customers,” Robert Doig, Director at Caledonia Potatoes told Nichola. Caledonia Potatoes was created in July this year after demerging from The Caithness Group.

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Ireland: Lockdown woes; below average yields reported

Domestic consumption and retail demand remain buoyant as we head into week two of the second ‘National lockdown’ this year, according to the IFA. With all restaurants forced to close their doors and move to Take Out only, the food service sector is operating at just a fraction of normal trade, leading into what would typically be one of the busiest times of year. Liftings continue across the country, with some growers finishing this week. Lifting progress is estimated to be over 60%. There are continued reports of below average yields.

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Yale and HZPC collaborate in quest for a better potato

Yale has a potato to call its own — two, in fact, and both varieties are already appearing in Yale dining halls, writes Brita Belli in a recent news article published by YaleNews. Through a partnership with Netherlands-based potato seed company HZPC, a Connecticut farm is growing special, nutrient-dense potatoes for the university that are tailor-made for the state’s climate and soil. The Jennifer potato, with its white skin and creamy texture, and the Maggie potato, with its yellow skin and buttery taste, are the first Yale-specific potatoes being grown from these seeds.

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Opinion: COVID-19 and global potato markets – Impact and consequences

The Coronavirus has had a major impact on the global potato industry since its discovery and spread earlier this year, writes Cedric Porter, editor of World Potato Markets magazine. The crisis led to a 20 percent increase in household consumption of table potatoes in April-May in many countries. Trade in potatoes and potato products declined 3,4% to € 13,240 billion for the Northern Hemisphere from August 2019 to July 2020. The crisis has shown many buyers that potatoes are nutritious, versatile and a valuable food.

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Study found that potato based diet does not disturb blood sugar control in diabetes

Researchers have found for the first time in a rigorously controlled clinical trial that people with diabetes don’t need to avoid potatoes. It is often said that potatoes with high glycemic index should be avoided by diabetics as they may adversely affect blood sugar. But the study indicates that glycemic index is not an accurate surrogate for an individual’s glycemic response (GR) to a food consumed as part of an evening meal. The researchers concluded that potatoes are a vegetable that is sustainable, affordable and nutrient-dense, and thus, they can play an important role in modern diets irrespective of metabolic health status.

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Fairfields Farm to supply global meal kit player HelloFresh with its low carbon footprint potatoes

UK based potato grower, Fairfields Farm in Essex, recently announced that it will be supplying HelloFresh with its low carbon footprint potatoes from October. HelloFresh is the leading global meal kit player, operating in 14 countries, it has delivered 149 million meals worldwide in Q2 2020 alone. Fairfields Farm will be supplying HelloFresh in the UK with fresh potatoes from its family farm in Colchester, Essex, and helping the recipe box delivery service in its quest to become carbon neutral.

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Growth of yellow potatoes and overall quality fuel optimism in Red River Valley

The outlook is good for high-quality crops of red and yellow potatoes from North Dakota and Minnesota, reports Sandy Lindblad Lee for Produce Business. Optimistic predictions for an excellent crop of consistent volume of Red River Valley potatoes is gratifying news for the multitude of buyers and consumers who look forward to these famous fresh spuds. This forecast is even more welcome following last season’s heavy losses in the Valley’s central and southern growing regions.

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US potato retail sales exceed 5-year records

Record potato sales continued at retail from July through September 2020, according to a news release issued by Potatoes USA. Total store potato sales are said to have increased by 13.6% in dollar sales and 10.6% in volume sales, compared to the same time frame in 2019. These sales levels are also the highest they have been for the past five years. Frozen potatoes showed the greatest increase compared to a year ago, with a dollar sales increase of 23.9% and a 19.7% increase in volume sales. The only category that declined compared to a year ago is deli-prepared sides.

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European Union: Temporary chlorpropham MRL gets green light

It’s a green light for a temporary Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) for the sprout inhibitor, chlorpropham. That level may be 0.4 mg/kg in ware potatoes. A European Union Standing Committee agreed to this in a digital vote. The temporary MRL is expected to take effect around the summer of 2021. The exact starting date depends on further decision-making within the EU. The current 10.0 mg/kg MRL will remain in force. That’s until the temporary MRL comes into effect. The use of Chlorpropham has been banned. But, ware potatoes will still be delivered under the current MRL. That’s in the 2020/2021 season.

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Ireland: Potato growers supplying food service having ‘one of the worst years on record’

According to the latest potato market report by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), liftings continue this week in Ireland following a reasonably dry few days. There are continued reports that yields are below average especially in areas that were affected by drought earlier in the year. As it stands, IFA says that growers supplying the food service sector have had one of the worst years on record. Trade for Kerr Pinks is holding steady and quality is reported as very good.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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