The Packer’s Tom Karst visited April 24 with Sabrina Bosiacki, agriculture industry manager for the Houston Food Bank, about the promise of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Buy Fresh Program. “The amount of need that we’re seeing right now is unprecedented,” Bosiacki said. “Just two days ago (April 22), we distributed 1.3 million pounds of food in a single day, which far surpasses our old record that we had attained post-hurricane Harvey; so we’ve never seen anything like this before since we became a food bank in the 80s.”
French fry sales are down across North America as tens of thousands of restaurants have closed during COVID-19, which means the potato industry has to adapt quickly. Companies that turn potatoes into french fries, wedges and hash browns are slowing down production, because there isn’t enough space to store all the frozen product, reports Alexis Kienlen in Alberta Farmer. While french fry sales have stagnated, potato chip sales are up. United Potato Growers of Canada is trying to figure out the amount of potatoes in storage so it can forecast how much production will be needed this coming year.
Retail purchases of all potato products were 41 percent higher in March 2020 compared to the same time frame last year, according to figures released by industry marketing body, Potatoes USA. “Consumers give potatoes high marks for being a satisfying food that everyone enjoys and for being a great value,” said Blair Richardson, CEO of Potatoes USA. Fresh potatoes have experienced a 42 percent volume increase since the beginning of March and a 67 percent year-over-year dollar sales increase as of the end of the first week of April.
COVID-19 is driving demand for fresh potatoes in supermarkets and grocery stores across the globe as people stock up on inexpensive food. Fresh potato has become a favorite during the lockdown, along with rice, wheat flour, bread and pasta, the International Potato Center (CIP) says in a recently published report. The world should be prepared to guarantee availability of food at affordable prices over the next 12?18 months, or even longer, to effectively overcome the effects of the pandemic. Potato has a key role to play in ensuring global food security.
Potato crisis in Washington state: 1 billion of 3 billion pounds in storage might not be used, says exec director
The economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic has slammed broadside against the Washington potato and dairy industries, with both facing the prospect of dumping product because markets have disappeared, reports Thomas Clouse of The Spokesman-Review. Washington growers have 1 billion pounds of potatoes in storage with no place to sell them, said Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington Potato Commission. “That’s a lot of potatoes,” Voigt said. “Every man, woman and child in Washington state would have to eat 200 pounds of potatoes between now and the Fourth of July.”
A new online marketplace, Foodens has launched in the UK – connecting shops and food suppliers with their local communities. Businesses can list food boxes for sale (for both collection and delivery), helping to distribute food across the UK in a safe zero-contact manner, Farmers Guide reports. Foodens.com is run by the Foodens Foundation, a non-profit organisation.
March was a month unlike any seen before in food retail in Britain. Drastic changes to how we live our lives have driven changes in shopping behaviour that left grocery retailers scrambling to adapt. As the dust settles, AHDB takes a look at what happened in a month we’re unlikely to forget. Fresh potato sales in the latest 4 week period have exceeded even the usual peak seen at Christmas.
The Canadian Potato Market was marching along at an excellent pace until the events of Covid-19. Initially, the fresh side of the industry saw rapid sales increases as consumers began to stockpile potatoes for an extended period of time at home. Many packers were barely able to keep up with emptying store shelves.
Grampian Growers is a farmer owned cooperative based on the East coast of Scotland on the outskirts of Montrose, Angus. The cooperative is one of the UK’s leading growers, suppliers and distributors of seed potatoes. Grampian recently released a short video about its Gemson baby potato variety. Grampian says on its website that Gemson has gone from strength to strength in the expanding baby potato sector since its commercial release in 2007. Gemson is renowned for producing exceptional small, white, round and bright tubers, perfect for the packing industry.
The leadership team at potato company Greenvale in the UK recently launched an online fund raising campaign for the benefit of the charity Grocery Aid. The Greenvale team says: Whilst we are all currently working from home, we felt it would be good to do our bit for charity in a “virtual challenge” So we have agreed to add up all our daily exercise miles as a leadership team and aim to complete a Lands End to John O Groats challenge (874 miles or 1407km).
Bord Bia, CNIPT, VLAM and Europatat are thrilled to announce that the European campaign “Potatoes, prepare to be surprised – Europe’s favourite since 1536” is now live. The three-year campaign, co-financed by the European Commission under the EU Promotion policy, will run until the end of 2022 and is now live online under the hashtag #potatosurprises. The aim is to encourage the consumption of fresh potatoes among millennials.
Potato processing facilities shutting down in Western Europe; calls multiply for reduced planted area
In the European potato sector, the direct consequences of the Covid-19 crisis are stark and multiple, according to a report by FIWAP (Filiere wallonne de la pomme de terre), is the potato industry association of the potato growers in Wallonia, Belgium. several potato processing units are shutting down (totally or partially) in Western Europe, particularly those that supply fast-food restaurants and french fry outlets. Throughout the European northwest, calls for a reduction in the 2020 areas multiply.
Delayed harvesting means some crops are still being harvested in Bengal. Potato prices, which have increased by nearly 45 per cent in the last fortnight, are likely to remain firm going forward, on the back of an estimated drop in production and large-scale stocking by consumers in West Bengal, The Hindu’s BusinessLine reports. Prices usually witness a softening trend at[Read More…]
Since securing a box of face masks during the coronavirus outbreak has become an impossible feat in South Korea these days, some people have settled instead for a box of potatoes, reports Esther Chung in the Korea JoongAng Daily. With the help of the Gov of Gangwon province, several thousand tons of potatoes were sold online in a couple of weeks.
In the Friday March 27 issue of Potato Weekly, issued by AHDB Potatoes, it is said that anecdotal reports suggest that retail demand has started to lessen this week following the nationwide “lockdown” since Monday night. This has been suggested to be due to a reduction in panic buying as supermarkets introduce limits on purchasing.
A purple potato producer who saw her niche business flatline overnight has started a contactless drive-through spud shack. Maria Flynn of Ballymakenny Farm, outside Drogheda, Co Louth was supplying many top restaurants and bars across the country with heritage potatoes when Covid-19 virtually closed the hospitality industry overnight.
Essex potato farmers have responded to the coronavirus crisis by setting up a free home delivery service for the local community. Potato producer and crisp maker Fairfields Farm, which is based in Wormingford, near Colchester, is delivering sacks and boxes of potatoes, and hand-cooked crisps made at a factory on the farm. The highly successful crisp business was set up[Read More…]
Twenty-year potato industry veteran Lance Poole of Idaho-based Eagle Eye Produce Inc. was unequivocal in using the descriptor “hot” to describe the current potato market. “I’ve only seen a ‘hot’ market like this one other time in my more than 20 years in the industry,” said the executive vice president of the Idaho Falls company. “That was in 1998-99 soon[Read More…]
Air fryers and toaster ovens around the country may go cold this week as the potato industry takes a major hit due to soaring demand for spuds amid the coronavirus lockdown. Now, potato farmers and distributors are working around the clock to keep tater-loving Americans full on the hearty vegetable, UPI reports, as millions take to their kitchens — some for the first time —[Read More…]
Due to the corona virus the free market of potatoes has completely collapsed. The PCA/Fiwap and the Belgapom price quotation has been suspended because of a lack of transactions on the free market of potatoes. According to Romain Cools of Belgapom, the federation of the Belgian potato processing and trade, in the meantime panic broke out among potato growers. Said[Read More…]