Organizations in the News

Video: Shifts in the US foodservice industry, and how chefs find inspiration from potatoes

In this episode of Potatoes USA’s “Keeping it Current” initiative, Kendra Keenan, Global Marketing Manager for Foodservice, talks about the shifts in foodservice and how chefs and operators from across the globe are finding potato inspiration for their menus and getting more creative to drive sales. Kendra also touches on the numerous marketing materials created for foodservice operators and where they can be accessed.

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NPC President: Quarantine measures continue to reverberate throughout the US potato industry

With the nation continuing to reel from the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Potato Council’s annual summer meeting was held using Zoom teleconferencing and Facebook on June 25. Potato sales have slightly rebounded but the impact to institutional food sales across the nation following quarantine measures taken in the middle of March continues to reverberate, according to Raybould. Kam Quarles, NPC’s CEO, said the USDA’s most recent efforts to provide additional financial assistance to specialty crops, including potatoes, has missed the mark

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Analysis: Changing consumer trends in Britain

Farmers and the wider food supply chain are used to responding to changing consumer requirements. However, it is hard to recall a time when the consumer landscape changed quite as dramatically as over these last three months of lockdown. AHDB has been following these changes closely, so whether considering shopping behaviour or the rise of in-home eating, AHDB has been reporting on the key issues which affect the demand for sectors’ products. Within this article, David Swales, AHDB Head of Strategic Insight, summarises some of the key factors which shape consumer demand.

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Report: Potato market outlook for the UK

AHDB has published its report on the outlook for the British potato sector. Says Phil Bicknell, AHDB Market Intelligence Director: “Whenever I discuss our outlooks, there’s always one question that crops up – why bother, things will change, what do you do then? The answer is simple – we revisit our outlooks and update the numbers. Like any forecast, it’s based on a set of assumptions, and it’s inevitable that we’ll get new information and better data. In uncertain times, there’s always a reason to wait for more.” Potato News Today re-publish the AHDB market outlook for potatoes here, courtesy of AHDB.

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Research breakthrough: Fast-maturing, resilient potatoes in Hutton researchers’ sights

New research by James Hutton Institute plant scientists has found that a specific protein encoded by the potato genome is a key component of tuberisation – the process by which the potato plant initiates and develops tubers. It is hoped that the genetic discovery will be harnessed by potato breeders to develop fast-maturing, more resilient potato varieties that will safeguard production in an era of climate change, work that is being taken forward with industry partners.

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US potato industry focuses on re-establishing, growing America’s love of potatoes

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.

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‘Fight Against Blight’ resumes in Britain: Now accepting blight samples, reaching out to volunteer scouts

British potato growers are able to submit fresh blight samples for analysis again as the James Hutton Institute (JHI) re-opens its labs. AHDB reports that the news will be welcome to potato growers following a number of blight warnings around the UK in the last few days. JHI was previously unable to accept samples due to government restrictions. The service offers growers a chance to contribute to ongoing work genotyping strains of blight. It relies on ‘blight scouts’ submitting samples from potato crops.

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AHDB: Dealing with aphids in Britain during 2020 and beyond

The management of aphids, particularly those that transmit viruses, has been a focus of concern for potato growers in recent seasons in Britain. AHDB (virtually) sat down with Crop Protection Senior Scientist for Pests, Dr Sue Cowgill, to talk monitoring, testing and research projects that will help growers manage the issue.

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Canadian crop report: Dry growing conditions coast to coast

United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC) has released its latest crop update. Kevin MacIsaac, General Manager, reports that the Canadian potato crop is in the “growing stage”. There is a recurring theme from coast to coast: It is dry – but the crop is not suffering yet because it is in the early stages of development, but does need rain soon. UPGC provides a snapshot of the crop status and market across Canada

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Low-tech tool helps fight potato late blight

Late blight is the most destructive potato disease in the world. It affects all potato producers (small-scale, commercial, seed producers, even urban producers) and the annual losses in developing countries are estimated at EUR 10?billion. Toward this end, the International Potato Center (CIP), in partnership with research and development institutions in Ecuador and Peru, has developed a low-tech tool to help farmers optimize fungicide use.

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US potato farmers reeling from 21% price decline

The COVID-19 pandemic caused U.S. potato prices to drop by about 21% from Jan. 15 through April 15, according to the industry’s surveys of potato growers and processors in major potato production areas. The estimate was included in a June 22 letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue signed by 19 U.S. potato growing organizations, requesting that potatoes be made eligible for the highest payment classification under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

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Herbicides – a season of replacements for British potato growers

Over the last three years, potato growers lost the approval for the most commonly used herbicides: linuron (in 2017) and diquat (in 2019), AHDB Potatoes says in a news release. It says weed control management has become a challenge, which experts are now trying to resolve by researching alternative options at the Strategic Farms trials. During the trials at the AHDB SPot Farms, two herbicide options have come forward: Emerger (aclonifen), and Shark (carfentrazone-ethyl).

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Late blight resistant potatoes in Uganda promise impressive returns

Potato is a popular crop in Uganda with great potential for income generation and improving nutrition. So much so that the Ugandan government has declared potato a key crop for the country. In Uganda, International Potato Center (CIP) partners with the National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO) to release and promote improved varieties of potato and sweetpotato. NARO and CIP have developed a new version of the Victoria variety by adding three resistance genes (3R). The 3R Victoria potatoes are completely resistant to late blight.

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US potato industry seeks improved coronavirus-related relief from govt

The potato industry wants more equitable relief under the federal Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, or CFAP. According to a report published by Capital Press, the National Potato Council and 18 other potato-industry organizations in a June 22 letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said USDA should make the crop eligible for the relief category with the highest per-unit reimbursement for losses, and increase other rates “to a meaningful level that is equitable with other commodities.

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Eye on Potatoes Podcast: LEAF and developing tomorrow’s leaders

Joining the NPC’s Eye on Potatoes podcast is Shelley Olsen of LJ Olsen, Inc. in Othello, Wash., and Chair of Potato LEAF to talk about how the industry is coming together to grow leaders who will thrive in the competitive global marketplace of the future. Plus, NPC CEO Kam Quarles provides an update on NPC’s efforts to support growers as the nation works to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

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AHDB-hosted webinars on post-CIPC potato sprout control coming up soon

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.

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‘The Gamble’ – The Washington potato story

The Gamble is a 60-minute documentary that explores the personal stories of farm families and their heritage. Through the colorful and touching stories of those who have endured the evolution of the industry, we learn firsthand the true grit that it took to survive and prosper. Those working in the farming industry in general around the world, will be able to identify with much of what is recounted in this documentary. Well worth a watch.

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Contributions needed to bring new late blight resistant potato variety to smallholder farmers’ fields in East Africa

The 2Blades Foundation, a non-profit research organization based in the Chicago area, is a principal sponsor of a research project that recently completed the development of a potato variety that is completely resistant to late-blight. 2Blades is seeking contributions to help bring this disease-resistant potato variety to market and fight hunger in East Africa.

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Latest Canadian Crop Report: Good potential, but hard work needed to clean up old crop later than normal

The Crop Transition Conference has been held for the past 12 years in Minneapolis. This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was held virtually, says Kevin MacIsaac, General Manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC). In conclusion it is said that “The crop has good potential, but we are going to need to work hard, to clean up the old crop at a later than normal date, as the new crop transitions in on schedule.”

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IFA: Retail and early markets remain strong; drought still a concern across Europe

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.

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World Potato Congress Inc. announces three new Directors to its Board

Romain Cools, President and CEO of the World Potato Congress Inc. (WPC) is pleased to announce that three new Directors are being be appointed to its Board effective July 1, 2020. Dr. Nigel Crump, Australia and Mrs. Elven Huang, China are former WPC International Advisors and Mr. Bret Nedrow in the USA are all welcomed additions to WPC, bringing with them vast experiences in the global potato industry.

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Hyperspectral imaging for sustainable, more productive potato crops

Hyperspectral imaging, a growing area in remote sensing, holds the promise of providing a solution for crop monitoring over large areas, and scientists at the James Hutton Institute are working with partners in industry and academia to investigate the potential of the technology to maximise the sustainability and productivity of key food crops. The InnovateUK-funded project “In-field Optical Detection of Potato Disease” primarily explored the utility of aerial imaging (drone captured multispectral and high-res RGB) to detect and differentiate between a selection of economically important potato diseases.

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Potato sales at retail soar in the US

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…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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