Fresh/ Table

British farmers issue stark warning they could run out of potatoes

British farmers warn of a potential shortage of potatoes following a record low harvest of 4.1 million tonnes due to heavy rains and storms. Storage supplies may not meet future demand, with prices already up by over 20%. There’s a chance British potatoes might run out by summer, possibly being replaced by Egyptian varieties.

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Scarcity of premium potatoes in Ukraine leads to significant price hike

Ukraine’s potato market is experiencing a shortage of high-quality produce, leading to increased prices, with the current rate at 16-23 UAH/kg, a 14% rise from last week. EastFruit notes that as the supply diminishes and demand grows, even lower quality potatoes are fetching higher prices. Costs are now 2.8 times higher than in early March, with predictions of further hikes as scarcity continues.

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Digging deeper into specialty potatoes: Join University of Maine’s interactive presentation and roundtable

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is hosting an event on January 22 to explore the cultivation and marketing of specialty potato varieties. Featuring a presentation by Brett Johnson and a roundtable discussion for commercial producers, the event aims to share best practices and experiences in this niche market. Open to the public with free entry, it’s a valuable opportunity for those interested in the growing specialty potato market.

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‘To veg or not to veg’: The controversy over the vegetable status of potatoes in U.S. nutrition policy guidelines

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is considering reclassifying potatoes from vegetables to a broader category of rice, grains, and carbohydrates in the 2025 national diet guidelines. This move is raising debates among scientists and potato industry stakeholders. Critics, such as the National Potato Council’s CEO, argue that potatoes are a gateway vegetable for children and should not be downgraded due to some people’s choice to eat fries instead of rice.

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Surplus spuds: U.S. potato harvest hits new highs, causing sharp drop in producer prices

In 2023, US potato production soared by 9% to 20 million tonnes, the first increase since 2017. This surplus led to a significant drop in prices, benefiting food manufacturers. Enhanced growing conditions and expanded acreage in key states like Idaho contributed to this rise. The US, a leading global potato producer, also saw a 6% increase in exports, despite a decline in imports during the July-September period.

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Innovating organic: OSU researchers receive $2M to look for new ways to prevent organic potatoes from spoiling

Oregon State University has received a $2 million USDA grant to develop anti-sprouting treatments for organic potatoes. The project addresses the growing organic market’s need for alternatives to synthetic chemicals, which are banned in organic farming. The research team is exploring natural products, like plant essential oils, and aims to create controlled-release methods to enhance storage life without compromising safety or quality, as U.S. organic food sales exceed $60 billion.

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Challenging potato supply scenario in Ireland, plenty of crop still to be harvested in Europe

Irish consumers are increasingly turning to potatoes as a staple food, driving strong retail demand and home consumption, according to the weekly potato market report issued by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA). Unprecedented rainfall and flooding have made this year’s harvest one of the most difficult on record. IFA reports that lifting progress on the European continent has been described as ‘minimal’ again this week and there is still plenty left in the ground.

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Potato retail sales in the U.S. surge in recent quarter despite volume fluctuations

In the third quarter of 2023, potato retail sales in the U.S. increased by 9.5% compared to the same period last year, as reported by Potatoes USA. Despite a slight 1.7% drop in overall volume sales, fresh potato sales remained stable. Notable growth was seen in canned, frozen, and instant potato categories in dollar sales. Fresh potato prices rose to $1.12 per pound, a 6.3% increase from the previous year. Despite some fluctuations, the overall increase in dollar sales highlights the enduring appeal of potatoes among consumers.

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A soggy setback: Ireland’s potato growers face severe losses amidst saturated soils

In Ireland, potato farmers are facing significant crop losses due to unusually high rainfall, resulting in waterlogged fields. Sean Ryan, a grower and IFA’s National Potato Chairman, reports a challenging year with delayed planting and rotted crops, unsuitable for consumption or animal feed. About half of the crop remains unharvested, and the situation threatens financial stability for farmers and potential potato shortages for consumers in the coming year.

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UK’s AKP Group bolsters potato supply chain with strategic Wolds Produce buyout

AKP Group, a leading UK potato supply chain specialist, has acquired Wolds Produce, enhancing its operations in the crisping, chipping, and seed potato sectors. This strategic move aims to consolidate expertise, foster innovation, and build a robust supply chain to navigate the challenges of reduced grower numbers, rising costs, and climate volatility. The partnership promises uninterrupted service and growth opportunities for the UK potato industry, with both companies maintaining their commitment to quality and efficiency.

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Potatoes: The produce powerhouse driving retail success in the U.S.

Fresh potatoes have emerged as a consistent sales force in the U.S. produce sector, offering retailers vast opportunities for increased customer interaction. Data reveals that effective merchandising significantly boosts potato sales. With the highest household penetration among vegetables, purchased on average 10 times annually, potatoes enhance sales for other items too. Their contribution to the produce department ensures overall store success, making them a valuable asset for retailers.

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From dependency to autonomy: Zimbabwe’s potato success story

Zimbabwe has achieved full self-sufficiency in table potato production, thanks to a government-led import substitution policy initiated in 2010. This policy banned table potato imports, promoting local farming. The shift has been successful, with potato production rising from 52,000 tonnes in 2010 to 599,550 tonnes in 2022. There was a 37 percent drop in the value of seed potato imports from US$9 814 212 for the period January to August in 2022 to US$6 141 750 in the same period this year.

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Ireland’s potato harvest faces tough hurdles, European markets stabilize

Irish potato farmers are facing one of the most challenging harvest seasons in years due to adverse conditions like waterlogging and crop cracking. Despite these hurdles, domestic demand remains steady, with an anticipated rise as colder weather approaches. In Europe, potato prices stabilize, but the U.K. harvest lags by two weeks. Exporters are watchful, awaiting clarity on new regulations, while the Canary Islands experience a pressing need for fresh stock.

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Dutch retailer PLUS taking a green turn? Introducing organic potatoes at regular prices

Dutch retailer PLUS is embarking on a shift towards organic potatoes in their fresh produce section. They’ve rolled out unprocessed organic potatoes in one-kilogram bags, interestingly priced the same as their non-organic counterparts. To ensure fairness, PLUS has committed to compensating farmers for the price difference. This initiative is in line with the Dutch government’s goal of achieving 15% organic farming land by 2030.

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Potato prices skyrocket in South Africa amid growing concerns about supply and food security

South African potato prices have surged, with a 10kg bag now costing R121 (6.25 euros), a 136% increase from last year, reports Carolize Jansen of FreshPlaza. Supply volumes have dropped by 46%. Other produce like bananas and pumpkins also face price hikes. Challenges such as water shortages and electricity issues plague farmers, raising concerns about food security and affordability in the region.

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‘Finding a needle in a potato sack’: Potato farmers prioritize inspection systems to ensure food safety

Farmers in North America, especially from Prince Edward Island (PEI), are prioritizing potato safety due to past incidents of metal contaminants in produce. In response, Fortress Technology introduced the Phantom metal detection system, designed to handle the unique challenges posed by potatoes. This system ensures high standards in the potato supply chain, emphasizing shared responsibility in food safety and the importance of upstream inspection to protect brands and guarantee consumer-safe products.

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America’s ‘veggie king’: The unwavering popularity of potatoes

At the 2023 Potato Business Summit earlier this year, Kim Breshears of Potatoes USA highlighted the enduring popularity of potatoes in America. Studies show potatoes as the top vegetable for five consecutive years. While 40% of the U.S. potato crop goes to retail and food service each, 20% is exported. Despite a brief pandemic-induced dip, food service sales are rebounding, indicating a robust future for the potato industry. The data presented by Kim Breshears underscores the unwavering popularity of potatoes in the U.S. market.

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Potato exports from Ukraine in 2023 at record high, but prices and quality low

In the first half of 2023, Ukrainian farmers exported a record 19.8 thousand tons of fresh potatoes, despite tensions with Russia. This surpasses their previous high in 2013 by over 5,000 tons. However, this achievement highlights concerns for the industry’s future. Exports in 2023 were significantly higher than previous years, but the wholesale price was a mere $0.16/kg, insufficient to cover production costs. Additionally, 91% of these exports went to Moldova due to the potatoes’ low quality, as per EastFruit analysts.

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U.S. seeks expanded potato trade with Japan: Key discussions ahead

During the U.S.-Japan bilateral talks from September 25-29, the U.S. potato sector, spearheaded by National Potato Council’s CEO Kam Quarles, will push for broader access to Japan’s fresh potato market. Although the U.S. has exported chipping potatoes to Japan since 2006, there’s a drive to expand into the overall fresh potato segment, which could yield an additional $150-$200 million in yearly exports. This initiative has bipartisan backing from Congress.

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Belgium and France forge historic pact for organic potatoes at Potato Europe Trade Show

In a groundbreaking move at the Potato Europe trade show, Belgium and France inked the ‘Covenant on robust organic potatoes 2023 – 2026,’ marking France’s first participation. The agreement, expanding on previous Belgian deals, promises more robust potato varieties and aims to boost their presence in fields and distribution. The covenant will run until 2026.

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‘PotatoNext’: Uniting Agrico, Nedato, and Leo de Kock for sustainable potato production

PotatoNext, the new independent cooperative formed by Agrico, Nedato, and Leo de Kock, is set to revolutionize the potato industry. With a fresh new logo and corporate identity, PotatoNext aims to bring together the entire process of potato production, from planting to consumption. Led by experienced directors Jan Bijleveld and Mariska Werring, the cooperative’s management team is committed to driving growth and success. Stay tuned for more updates on the benefits and developments this collaboration will bring to growers, customers, and suppliers.

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Celebrating potato product and packaging innovation, Sterman Masser Farms will exhibit at NEPC Expo

Sterman Masser Potato Farms will present its Side Delights Petite potatoes at the NEPC Expo in Boston from August 21-22, 2023. These U.S. No.1 grade potatoes come in various colors and innovative packaging. Additionally, Masser introduces its sustainable Bioflex packaging, which decomposes in modern landfills. Lela Reichart, the Executive Director of Marketing, emphasizes Masser’s commitment to quality and sustainability, inviting attendees to experience their innovations at Booth #425.

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Potato prices soar in South Africa, but farmers still under pressure

Potatoes prices in South Africa have reached record levels for the year and are trading at 77% higher than a year ago. This week, the prices again increased, reaching ZAR81,67/10kg (approx $4.50) , Johnny van der Merwe, managing director of AM Trends, says. Speakers at the Potatoes South Africa (PSA) research symposium held this week noted that the high level of wastage in the potato industry was contributing to higher prices, and reducing profitability on farms.

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British potato prices remain elevated, year-on-year increases of up to 627% reported

While the old UK potato crop is mostly being traded at higher prices due to limited supply, the new season’s crop trade is also starting to pick up, as Harry Campbell reports for Mintec. However, demand is outpacing supply as freshly harvested crops are quickly bought up. Prices for Grade 1 White Packing Potatoes EXW England are currently priced at £400/mt, up 627% y-o-y.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse

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