Pressreleases

How Coronavirus has changed the British potato market and the way AHDB supports the industry

This week AHDB Potatoes in the UK published a podcast outlining some of its analysis into consumer and wholesale markets, our thinking on consumer marketing and some of the ways that the lockdown has affected AHDB’s services to the industry. In this episode you will hear, among others, from Dr Sophie Churchill, chair of the Potato Board, who will offer an overview of the work that’s underway to support the British potato industry.

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Blight fungicides that tick all the boxes for British potato growers

Controlling late blight (Phytophthora infestans) in potatoes has become much more complicated. Growers and agronomists have to think about many factors, including disease pressure, blight strains, growth stage of the crop, weather conditions, fungicide mode of action, and many more. Blight strains in the UK have changed radically recently and Dr. David Cooke of the James Hutton Institute in Dundee has identified newer strains which are more aggressive, produce more spores from larger lesions and have a faster life cycle.

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UK-based farm producer of hand-cooked crisps delivers to frontline hospital staff, provides national free delivery service

Artisan crisp maker, Fairfields Farm, made a delivery of 480 bags of its hand-cooked crisps to Colchester Hospital this week, giving doctors a nurses a welcome treat as they tackle Covid-19 on the front line. The business, which produces potatoes and hand-cooked crisps on its farm in Colchester, wanted to do something to thank the team at its local hospital[Read More…]

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Potato grower Michael Family Farms in the US informs consumers with new website

Michael Family Farms, Urbana, Ohio, launched a website showcasing its operation and Side Delights potato products. The website, www.MichaelFamilyFarms.com, gives consumers product details, nutritional information, recipe suggestions, on-farm food safety procedures and other information. according to a news release. Side Delights has a dedicated section so consumers can learn more about the line.

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How will Covid-19 lockdown impact our eating habits?

In this very insightful article by Steven Evans, Senior Consumer Insight Manager at AHDB in the UK, the author analyzes how Covid-19 has changed our eating habits, using estimates from Kantar Worldpanel that look at the potential rise per week of meals consumed during lockdown. These predictions relate to the current hard lockdown scenario faced by consumers, and depending on how stringently lockdown measures are enforced, we can expect to see a range of changes for a prolonged period.

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Developing novel herbicides: Corteva and AgPlenus collaborate to address rise in global weed resistance

Corteva Agriscience and AgPlenus recently announced that they have entered into a multi-year collaboration for the development of novel herbicides. By leveraging their complementary expertise, Corteva and AgPlenus will address the rise of global weed resistance, created in-part by the absence of new modes of action (MoAs) for weed control over the past 30 years. Successful products resulting from the collaboration will enter a multi-billion-dollar market.

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COVID-19 response: TOMRA Food’s Test and Demonstrations Centers go virtual

TOMRA Food announces that it is leveraging digital technology to enable live demonstrations of its sorting solutions. It has developed virtual demonstration capability to take the TOMRA Test and Demonstration Centers to participants’ home offices. They will be able to book interactive sessions with the Centers in Leuven, Belgium, Xiamen, China, and Sacramento, USA. With the new TOMRA Virtual Demonstration Centers, participants will be able to test the sorting solutions they are considering and make an informed purchase decision.

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Grampian Growers releases video to tell the story of its Gemson baby potato variety

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.

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Greenvale launches ‘virtual challenge’ in support of Grocery Aid charity

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).

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AHDB quantifies the impact of chip-shop closures in Britain

Over the past 3 weeks we have seen the sudden and drastic closure of the vast majority of demand for chipping and bagged potatoes for foodservice markets in the UK. With the chip-shop market being mostly closed, what is the impact on potato tonnages destined for this market? AHDB estimates a balance (at mid-March) of 188,576 tonnes is facing the issue of lost demand.

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Lamb Weston CEO: ‘We are unable to reasonably forecast frozen potato product demand’

Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc. announced its fiscal third quarter 2020 results. “Our results in the third quarter were mixed,” said Tom Werner, President and CEO. “At this time, despite only two months remaining in our fiscal fourth quarter, we are unable to reasonably forecast frozen potato product demand because of the pandemic’s unpredictable near-term effect on restaurant traffic in North America and our key international markets.”

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British farmers launch #LockdownLearning initiative for home education

Farmers and growers from across Britain are hoping to inspire and educate children about food and where it comes from as a part of a new #LockdownLearning project, which is being launched today. The free, online resource comes as thousands of parents are now home-schooling their children due to the coronavirus.

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CIP researchers designed a smartphone app for potato irrigation monitoring

Recent research by scientists and students from CIP and the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, in Peru, confirmed that images from infrared (a.k.a. thermographic) cameras can be used to detect water stress in potato crops, and thereby guide more efficient water use. CIP scientists recently developed a new, more user-friendly version of TIPCIP for the smartphones.

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The Quikgro initiative: Developing resilient potato varieties suited for East Africa

Scientists of the James Hutton Institute, in collaboration with the University of St Andrews, are supporting a research project aimed at delivering food security and health for East Africa. The Quikgro initiative, which aims to develop potato varieties suited to the agronomic and environmental conditions of the region, is a key component of the project and will hopefully result in economic and social benefits for smallholder farmers.

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Potatoes USA: 2019 a banner year for potatoes, but in 2020 exports decline with severe losses in foodservice sales

Utilization of U.S. grown potatoes increased by 3.3% in volume in 2019 compared to 2018, an increase of 1,183 million pounds. The full force of the global pandemic and its impact on food sales became very apparent in March, Potatoes USA says. Beginning with the restrictions in China and then elsewhere in Asia, U.S. exports slowed considerably. Domestically, the calls for social distancing and the restrictions on sporting events, entertainment, bars, and restaurants has led to a drastic decline in foodservice sales.

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European fresh potato promotion campaign launched, targeting millenials

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.

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Organic humble heroes: New Zealand’s Whitfield Organics

Organic farmers are a small but growing sector in New Zealand. Considering consumer trends and the recent law changes, it’s time to “hero” the industry, writes Gemma Carroll, Communications & Engagement Officer at Potatoes New Zealand in a recent article. Not long ago, Gemma headed over to Clive, near Hastings, to meet with Hawkes Bay organic grower Brad Whitfield. Brad is a fourth generation grower who still shares some of the work with his 80 year old dad Dave.

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Covid-19: Prov govt of Prince Edward Island answers commonly asked farming related questions

The Agriculture and Land department of the provincial government on Prince Edward Island in Canada has published a page on its website this week dedicated to commonly asked questions that the farming community on the Island are concerned about. Answers are provided by the department on the page. Health officials on the Island recognize that essential services, including food production, will have to be maintained even under the current restrictions.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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