Fresh/ Table

Ireland: Potato demand from retailers soars; food service takes hit

With the current coronavirus situation developing over the past week, demand across all sectors has been mixed, according to the IFA. Demand from retailers this week has soared and is reportedly as high as the Christmas period when trade normally peaks. The food service industry is experiencing a hit due to decreased footfall and closures. Meanwhile plantings continue this week across the country.

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Branston hopes for purple patch for Violet Queen potato variety

Branston, potato supplier based in the UK, is asking shoppers whether they want to see its new Violet Queen variety become a mainstay of the potato aisles as part of its launch of the eye-catching purple variety, Fruitnet reports. Violet Queen is being launched into selected Tesco stores for a limited time from this month, having been developed for its unusual colour and rich texture.

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Idaho stores somehow selling out of potatoes

Odd as it may sound, Idaho retailers have been experiencing fresh potato shortages lately, John O’Connell of Post Register reports. Several produce departments throughout the Gem State were sold out of every potato consumer bag and loose spud by Tuesday, as consumers seeking to stock their pantries for the coronavirus outbreak bought foods that store well by the cartload. “It is strange. I didn’t think I’d ever see a shortage, at least at the store level, of potatoes in Idaho,” said Travis Blacker, industry relations director with the Idaho Potato Commission.

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WPC Webinar – Dr. Leah Tsror on powdery scab

The World Potato Congress is extremely pleased to be offering its third webinar in 2020 on March 18, featuring Dr Leah Tsror. Dr Tsror is a Research Group Leader in the Department of Plant Pathology, Agricultural Research Organization, Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development in Israel. The focus of Dr Tsror’s presentation during the Webinar will be on the epidemiology of the disease and the integrated management practices for reducing the risk of powdery scab.

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Power of Produce 2020 report: How’s the industry doing on increasing consumption?

The percentage of U.S. consumers who eat fruits and vegetables daily has dropped noticeably in recent years, according to the new Power of Produce report. According to an article by Ashley Nickle, published in Produce Retailer, in 2018, 48% consumers reported eating fruits and/or vegetables just about every day. In 2019, the number dropped to 41%. In the most recent report, the number is 35%.

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Potatoes USA has retailers’ backs with ‘Path to Purchase’ study

Lilian Diep is a trade news writer with AndNowUKnow. She recently wrote in an article: “I’m now privy to a wealth of resources, including Kayla Dome, Global Marketing Manager of Retail for Potatoes USA. I sat down with Kayla to find out how retailers can engage with consumers to capitalize on this staple category and maximize profits.” Below is some of what Lilian found out.

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Potato trade positive in Ireland, demand picking up

Trade remains positive and reports from growers indicate that there is increased demand over the past week, the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) reported late this week. Although stocks remaining in store in Ireland are similar to last year’s levels, early plantings and harvest were staggered last year, which complimented the season.

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Consumer research: Shoppers willing to buy gene-edited food if they know its benefits

The FMI Foundation in partnership with the American Seed Trade Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and the Farm Foundation, today released a consumer research study measuring market potential for gene-edited products. The nationwide survey examined U.S. consumers beliefs, awareness, and understanding of gene editing in food and agriculture, and their willingness to pay for gene-edited foods as it pertains to fresh[Read More…]

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British potato industry urged to heed consistency at retail as sales drop

Inconsistency in the quality of standard 2.5kg retail packs of potatoes has been held responsible for a downward slide in main crop potato sales, reports Nancy Nicolson in The Courier. Speaking to the Scottish Society for Crop Research (SSCR) potato committee meeting, the technical director of Albert Bartlett Potatoes, Paddy Graham Jones suggested variability in the generic “white potato” product was responsible for the fall.

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Produce exposed: Is plastic-free produce the next frontier?

“Naked produce. No, it’s not a dodgy search term (though I wouldn’t even try Googling it, just in case); it’s the next new thing in supermarket shopping,” writes Niki Bezzant in her monthly blog, Potato Chat, for Potatoes New Zealand. Niki writes in the latest issue of the blog that Countdown supermarket chain is trialling a plastic-free produce section in[Read More…]

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Slim supplies continue on potatoes in North America, coronavirus influencing buyers and retailers

Potato supplies continue to be snug across North America, though how tight things are is still to be determined. “Supplies have been tight this season from the beginning,” says Ryan Wahlen of Pleasant Valley Potato in Aberdeen, ID. “I think [coronavirus] influencing the buyers a lot,” says Wahlen. “There are a few concerned who aren’t sure how heavy to carry an inventory of a perishable item. They’re worried about their work force being impacted.

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Potatoes USA considers effects of coronavirus on consumer behaviour

Tom Karst writes in The Packer today that the 2020 annual meeting of Potatoes USA proceeded as planned even as news was breaking that the NCAA decided to exclude fans from its annual post-season basketball tournament the coronavirus, COVID-19. Some potato marketers said that sales of dehydrated potato flakes have increased while foodservice fresh and frozen sales have dropped. Most said they don’t expect long-term changes in how people buy potatoes.

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World Potato Congress: ‘Africa could displace North America as the third largest potato producer’

The world’s potato production growth stagnated in 2018 and couldn’t recover in 2019, according to a recent statement by the World Potato Congress (WPC). It is said that in total, 368,247,000 tons were produced in 2018, according to FAO. Even so, it was the third-highest production after 2017 and 2014. FAO estimated that 158 countries for which it has data[Read More…]

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Convenience, sustainability, recyclable options driving latest potato packaging design

The challenge to creating a compelling package for potatoes is complex, because bags must protect product integrity while attracting a shopper’s attention, says Jeff Watkin, marketing director with Collinsville, Ill.-based packaging manufacturer Sev-Rend Inc. told The Packer magazine in a recent interview., One challenge Sev-Rend has met involves a bag that prevents greening and preserves the potatoes’ shelf life, he said.[Read More…]

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Potato season starts early in Majorca due to higher temperatures

The potato season has started much earlier than usual this year thanks to higher than average temperatures in Majorca between December and February. The Matthew Export company started collecting its Lady Christl variety on Wednesday and the first shipment will be on its way to the UK on Saturday. “Climate change is forcing us to adapt in many ways,” says Mateu Export’s Manager,[Read More…]

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US: Success with dollars and volume sales at retail, but russet, red sales down

IRI data for the calendar year 2019 (January through December 2019) showed success with dollars and volume sales for total potato sales at retail, Potatoes USA reports. Total dollar sales increased by 2.2% and volume increased by 0.4%. Potato chips, frozen potatoes, refrigerated potatoes, and dehydrated potatoes increased in sales volume. Refrigerated potatoes saw a 7.0% lift in dollar sales[Read More…]

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Ireland: Second lowest acreage of potatoes planted in 2019

The area of potatoes planted in Ireland in 2019 was the second lowest on record, after 2018, which was the lowest on record. There was also a further decrease in the plantings of traditional varieties such as Kerr’s Pink and Golden Wonders. Speaking at the recent National Potato conference in Dublin IFA president Tim Cullinan said farmers continue to be the[Read More…]

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Study finds its fine to eat a potato-a-day

Potatoes are the most commonly consumed vegetable in the U.S., yet they often get a bad rap. Most are eaten the form of fries or chips, so many people consider them an unhealthy food. It doesn’t have to be that way. Eating one medium-size potato a day can be part of a healthy diet and doesn’t increase cardiometabolic risk —[Read More…]

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Specialty, organic potatoes help expand sales

There’s more to the potato business than reds, whites and russets, marketers in the US say. Specialty varieties and organics are important parts of the product mix, they note. “We need to continue to explore varietals,” said Mike Hart, director of sales and marketing for Fryeburg, Maine-based Green Thumb Farms.  “When I look at the produce section as a whole and[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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