The French Ministry of Agriculture this week announced that potato producers who had to allocate processing potatoes to outlets other than for the process sector due to the pandemic will financially be compensated for losses incurred. Producers have until February 2 to apply online. The news site Terres et Territoires reports that ‘good things come to those who wait for it’. After six months of waiting, potato producers will finally be compensated “for the losses resulting from diverting unprocessed potatoes to other outlets, in the context of the health crisis associated with the Covid-19 pandemic”.
The Belgian potato processing industry has set the tone for the Northwest European potato market at the start of the year after a number of Belgian factories unexpectedly purchased the product at a 5 euro base. As a result, it is said that the prices of the Belgian and French stock exchanges experienced an increase of more than 100% compared to the end of 2020.
PIP Innovations, the manufacturer of D-Blade – a robotic driven produce cutter – announced recently that it partnered with FoodeQ, manufacturer of vibratory shakers, in a strategic move to accelerate its global expansion by offering a tested combination of shakers and robot technology. The development of PIP Innovations’ robotic cutting machine started five years ago with a request from potato processor Peka Kroef to develop a machine that cuts defects from potato slices while retaining their shape during processing.
Lockdown had led to a sudden shift from a crop shortfall following weather challenges last season to a surplus for potato giant McCain, as it lost 50 per cent of sales overnight. The last 10 years have thrown up multiple climate challenges for potato growers and McCain was looking to help create certainty for farmers and build supply chain resilience. Daniel Metheringham, McCain head of agriculture, said: “This time last year we were sat in the midst of a crop crisis because of weather volatility. When we hit Covid-19, all of a sudden we went from a crop shortfall to a crop surplus.”
Food technology expert: New Maine potato varieties ‘have much lower levels of acrylamide than Russet Burbank’
Food technology and human nutrition specialist at the University of Maine, Professor Mary Ellen Camire, has some good news about french fries. Those made with the new potato varieties AF4296-3 and Easton have much lower levels of the probable carcinogen acrylamide than those made with the popular Russet Burbank variety. Camire, conducted a pilot study in this regard with colleagues, including Gregory Porter, who heads the UMaine potato breeding and variety development program.
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) says in its weekly report that retail demand is on the rise in Ireland as we approach the Christmas peak period. The food service sector continues to trade this week, which is also welcome. In the UK anecdotal reports of storage issues emerged this week. Across Europe the processing market is quiet, with some factories closing on alternative weeks and some factories are closing for the Christmas break which is unheard of.
In July 2020 McCrum (Belfast, Maine, US) started up their new Coated French Fries production line with a capacity of 8 tons finished product an hour. The company, founded in 1886, has a rich history of adding value to the potato, from field to plate.
NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers) says it is unsure of the current potato situation and does not expect major changes in the demand side of the market in the coming weeks. NEPG says in a press release that due to the pandemic, there is hardly any demand for potatoes on the open market from the processing industry, and prices are on an extremely low level. Another large challenge is the actual sprouting threat reported by growers.
Frozen potato brand Aviko is adding three new premium products to its portfolio, following research which found that chips and wedges are the two most popular frozen products consumers buy. Shah Khan, senior marketing manager at Aviko UK and Ireland, said: “At a time when eating out is so limited due to ever changing Covid-19 restrictions, shoppers are placing more value in enhancing their at home eating experience.
This past Saturday, McCain Foods announced the construction of a second potato processing plant in China. The company says in a statement that building on its 25 years’ presence in China and to meet the growing demand for its potato products, this development comes as the company intends to meet the growing demand for its potato products in China. The new plant will require an investment of US$200 million.
The GB potato industry accounts for over 117.46Kha of planted area this year, and is represented by 1,611 growers in 2020. AHDB Analyst Alex Cook writes in this news report that British growers have faced difficult seasons of late. Last season, from a supply point of view with the challenging lifting conditions in 2019/20, and now this season from a demand point of view with suppressed levels as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This article aims to cover a seasonal roundup of what has happened so far, as well as commentary on what December may hold for potato markets.
South Australia’s Zerella Fresh this month committed to expand the capacity of their potato washing and grading line. Building on a long, and successful relationship, Zerella Fresh have again chosen to reinvest with Wyma Solutions, for their post-harvest needs. “Wyma has been supplying Zerella Fresh with post-harvest equipment and expertise for over two decades. It is a partnership built on mutual trust, as well as a common purpose to consistently deliver the best produce possible,” says Andrew Barclay, Managing Director, Wyma Solutions.
Meade Potato Company in Ireland has entered the starch commodity market by extracting starch from surplus potatoes and potato processing by-products. the extraction unit at the Meade Farm in Lobinstown, Co. Meath represents the only native food-grade starch being indigenously produced for food manufacturers in Ireland and the UK, the company said.
Kontich-based FAM has specialised in industrial cutting machines for various types of food since 1980. For example, for potatoes that need to be cut into French fries or crisps, mozzarella to be sliced to put on pizzas, lettuce and vegetables for supermarket salad bowls, pre-sliced soup vegetables, and more. The company, whose slogan is “we shape food worldwide”, has performed strongly on the international market, taking leadership positions in different segments in a vast number of regions spread across the globe.
AHDB in the UK has secured an emergency authorisation (EA) for the use of as yet unapproved sprout suppressant 1?4 dimethylnaphthalene (DMN). The approval is limited to the supply chains of some major processors, as the Chemical Regulations Division (CRD) of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) turned down an original wider application made in August.
Potato processor Lamb Weston / Meijer has strengthened its position in the frozen processed potato market in Russia with the acquisition of a majority share in its existing joint venture with the Belaya Dacha Group. The joint venture owns Russia’s largest french fry factory. This agreement builds on the successful collaboration with Belaya Dacha Group which started in 2016.
Potato crisp manufacturing is a competitive industry, one where efficiency is a crucial factor in staying ahead of the competition. Wyma’s Vege-Polisher™ system combines both polishing and peeling technology in a unique package to minimise the impact and wear on downstream potato processing equipment, allowing crisp producers to generate greater returns from their line.
From potato peelings to fertiliser: Walkers to cut carbon emissions by bringing potatoes full circle
Walkers crisps, one of the largest buyers of British potatoes, is partnering with British clean-tech firm CCm Technologies to reduce its carbon footprint by turning its potato waste into fertiliser. Using innovative carbon-capture technology, potato peelings leftover from making crisps will be transformed into low-carbon fertiliser and returned to farms where potatoes for Walkers crisps are grown across the UK.
Declan Lynch, Irish Independent journalist, writes in this piece, published yesterday: “One of the many scandals of Brexit was the failure to inform the British public of some of the obvious ways in which they’d be affected – or at least the failure to make that information stick in the public consciousness.” It was on Morning Ireland that most of us discovered for the first time in our lives that most of the chips that we get in the chippers are made with potatoes imported from England, Lynch writes.
Market analyst: ‘European potato production increase creates challenges for the global fry industry’
Potato production in the European Union’s five major french fry exporting countries is at 888.1 million cwt, up 10.2 per cent from the year before, the Dec. 2 issue of North American Potato Market News (NAPM) says. Poland is responsible for 60 per cent of the extra spuds, but production in each of the exporting countries increased.
PepsiCo Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) has announced the appointment of Vandita Pandey to the newly created role of Chief Marketing Officer for both snacks and beverages. Pandey comes from Frito-Lay (a PepsiCo company) in the United States where she has spent the last 11 years in roles that span across marketing, corporate strategy, insights and media. Her latest role was General Manager, Bare Snacks.
TOMRA Visual Assist is TOMRA Food’s new Augmented Reality tool that enables remote experts to provide specialist support to a customer or a TOMRA Field Service Engineer on-site – just as if they were standing in front of the machine. It enables TOMRA to solve a broader range of problems of varying degrees of complexity remotely. The result is more uptime and better machine performance for the customers.
Ortofrutticola Parma has operated a TOMRA sorting machine since 2008 on its potato selection line, where it has processed about 180,000 tons of the company’s flagship product every year. When the time came this year to find a replacement machine that would continue to meet the need for superior tuber production, the company turned once again to TOMRA Food. The solution, which the company put into service at the beginning of May, was a new Sentinel II.
According to a report by Toni Williams for Rural Life in New Zealand, an influx of European potato fries into New Zealand has already impacted on domestic growers, with less product planned for growing and staff job losses. Latest figures were estimated at a surplus of 2.6million tonnes in Europe and growing due to the impacts of further lockdowns in parts of Europe.