Processing

Entrapment: US potato processing industry ambushed by pandemic

According to a report published earlier this week by the Washington Ag Network, the National Potato Council and state grower organizations wrote Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue last week to talk about potatoes that have nowhere to go for processing. According to the Council, more than 1.5 billion pounds of fresh potatoes for processing and potato products are trapped in the supply chain with no likely customers.

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The popular ‘New Zealand’ foods made overseas, including Wattie’s potato Pom Poms

Think your favourite food is made or grown in New Zealand? Brace yourself for some bad news. In the aftermath of the coronavirus lockdown, many Kiwis are making a conscious effort to support local businesses and brands. News that Wattie’s Potato Pom poms are made in Belgium, its apricots are sourced from South Africa, and its asparagus from Peru may be hard to swallow.

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Zimbabwe’s potato farmers frustrated by banks’ reluctance to support value added ventures, processing plants

Zimbabwe’s potato producers say efforts to add value to their produce are being frustrated by financial institutions’ reluctance to fund greenfield projects and they have appealed for government intervention to help them set up processing plants. Ronald Museka, the Potato Industry of Zimbabwe chairman, said local financial institutions were only eager to fund the growing of potatoes, but farmers wanted to ramp up value addition and explore export markets.

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Potatoes NZ request ‘Emergency Measures’ to ban EU frozen fry imports

Potatoes New Zealand is asking the New Zealand government to give urgent consideration to imposing short-term measures limiting the importation into New Zealand of heavily discounted frozen potato chips to avoid a food security threat. This follows the Australian Potato Industry’s move to do the same. Globally, the disruption of supply chains, and particularly sales to hospitality, by virtue of COVID-19 restrictions has led to the complete collapse of potato prices in major production centres, in particular the European Union (EU).

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Australian potato farmers outraged as $1billion COVID-19 cash splash is given to European colleagues

Australian potato farmers are outraged to discover a $1billion COVID-19 assistance package given to European growers could result in a flood of French fries into the market from overseas. An industry representative body for vegetable and potato growers, AUSVEG, said an influx of about 2.6million tonnes of excess potatoes into Australia would lock farmers out of the fast-food industry. The two biggest potato processors, McCain Food and Simplot, have been working with AUSVEG alongside other companies to address the issue

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Aussie potato growers spitting chips over European fries dumping threat

Australian potato growers are digging in for an anti-dumping fight with Europe as it reportedly threatens to flood the local market with frozen French fries. AUSVEG said potato growers faced big losses if large volumes of processed potatoes were imported from Europe as a consequence of a €650 million ($1.08 billion) COVID-19 assistance package.

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Chips are down: Asia faces COVID-19 fries shortage

With prices and supply facing uncertainty due to lockdowns and high, panicked demand especially in the APAC region after the COVID-19 outbreak, it might be expected that potatoes would be able to benefit somewhat here – but in reality, there have been multiple factors hindering this opportunity, according to International Potato Center Asia Regional Director Samarendu Mohanty.

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Perfecting the potato chip

Each time a bag of potato chips is opened in the United States, there is a one in four chance that it’s filled with Michigan-grown potatoes. Michigan is the largest producer of potatoes grown for the potato chip industry in the US, A concerted effort made by industry stakeholders, spearheaded by Michigan State University Extension and MSU AgBioResearch, and coordinated by the Michigan Potato Industry Commission, has built a partnership that is growing the industry.

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McCain Foods GB embraces Restrain sprout inhibitor as replacement for CIPC

Potato processor McCain Foods (GB) Ltd is using ethylene and specifically the anti-sprouting system Restrain as its preferred replacement for the soon to be withdrawn CIPC, according to a press release issued by Restrain company. According to the release, McCain Foods GB, the UK business of the world’s largest producer of frozen potato products, has been using ethylene for a few years and is now recommending Restrain ethylene generators to its potato growers in the United Kingdom.

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‘Potatofied’ innovations: Developing entrepreneurial skills among Indian potato farmers

There is, perhaps, no vegetable in the world as versatile as the potato. And farmers in Assam, India, are proving this fact by developing numerous innovations to bring new products into local markets. The innovations have been created through Value Chain Schools (VCS) within the Assam Agri-Business and Rural Transformation Project (APART) – a project dedicated to fostering entrepreneurial skills among small and marginalized farmers in Assam.

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Pivoting when in crisis? Potato Corner founder shares ideas

“Pivoting” is a term that has been thrown around by entrepreneurs as they try to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. But Jose Magsaysay Jr., founder and chairman emeritus of the food kiosk pioneer Potato Corner, pivoting is not always the solution for crumbling businesses. “You pivot depending on your resources. Look into yourself before you pivot. Am I a player now in this crisis? If I’m not and I don’t have the money to pivot, I will just conserve, stop what I’m doing, and spot trends,” he said during a webinar organized by the Philippine Franchise Association on Thursday.

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Cavendish Farms slated to receive provincial help in dealing with surplus of processing potatoes

A $4.7 million provincial program developed in conjunction with the Prince Edward Island provincial government and Cavendish Farms should help deal with a surplus of potatoes accumulating in the warehouses of processing growers, says the general manager of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board in Canada. However, there is concern in some quarters about the fact that all of the funds are destined for the processing company. The district director of the National Farmers Union said the deal raises “a lot of red flags.”

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Stuck in storage: Canadian processing potato holdings above three-year average

The amount of potatoes in storage for Canada’s processing sector is 4.2 per cent above the three-year average as of May 1, 2020, according to the United Potato Growers of Canada’s (UPGC) latest update. The UPGC attributes the higher numbers to the COVID-19 pandemic which has “had a dramatic effect on french fry sales as sit-down portions of quick service and fast casual restaurants were closed.” The Potato Growers of Alberta estimates about $60 to $70 million worth of processing potatoes are still in storage.

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Lamb Weston returns part of 2019 crop to growers

Processor Lamb Weston has returned part of the 2019 potato crop to Northwest farmers, according to a report by Capital Press. The company doesn’t have the ability to run all of the 2019 potatoes remaining in storage, said Dale Lathim, executive director of Potato Growers of Washington. About 30% of the potatoes still in growers’ storage has been returned to farmers, Lathim said. He said that’s about 4 million hundredweight of potatoes in Washington.

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Lamb Weston reports 4 coronavirus cases among employees at Oregon facility

Lamb Weston has reported four cases of COVID-19 among its employees in Boardman. Three of the cases at the company’s Boardman facilities were reported in mid-April and one early this month, health officials said. “In each of the four cases in Boardman, we are confident we took the right measures for our team members’ safety,” said spokesperson Shelby Stoolman.

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In America’s french fry heartland, spring turns bitter as coronavirus cuts into global demand

For farmer Mike Pink, spring is supposed to be a time of hope, when he can survey a green field of young potato plants and anticipate the bounty to be pulled from the sandy soils of the Columbia Basin, reports Hal Bernton of the Seattle Times. This year, this is a season when dreams die. Due to an epic potato glut that imploded his market, he has decided to do what was once unthinkable — destroy part of his crop rather than sink more dollars into cultivation. During the past two months, fast food sales have dropped sharply.

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Belgian potato fries in the frying pan: Country’s proud industry feeling the heat of COVID-19 effects

When you read the headline ‘Belgian’s urged to eat more fries’ you may think it’s a joke, but in Belgium, it was a serious request, reports Leighton Schneider for ABC News International. The country’s potato industry has been hit hard by COVID-19 since it started hitting China and the rest of Asia. Romain Cools, the Secretary-General of Belgapom, which oversees Belgium’s potato trade and processing industry, tells ABC News’ “Perspective Podcast” the country has a giant surplus of potatoes, which was caused by the shutdown of the food service sector since about 70 percent of the potatoes in Belgium are consumed out of the home.

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The British chipping market state of play

Last week saw the release of our end-March stocks estimates. Fresh bags and chipping stocks that remain in grower ownership at the end of March were estimated at 157.3Kt. This shows a 49% drawdown from end of January, suggesting 151.6Kt moved from grower ownership in that time. By the end of March approximately 79% of fresh bag and chipping material had left grower ownership which is 2% lower than the 5-year average. However the question faced is; what will happen to the remaining 21% if the fish and chip trade remains subdued?

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America’s pandemic snack: Lay’s potato chips

Stuck at home with nowhere to go, many Americans can’t help but snack more, and many are grabbing a bag of Lay’s potato chips. Since mid-March — when the World Health Organization first declared COVID-19 a pandemic — the number of Americans likely to purchase Lay’s has increased by 35 percent. Right now, 18 percent of the American population say they’re likely to purchase a bag of Lay’s, the highest that figure has been in three years (that figure is even slightly higher at 19 percent among those who are in-market to buy snacks in the next 30 days).

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AHDB Analysis: An in-depth look at the British potato processing market

The following in-depth analysis of the British potato processing market was prepared by Alex Cook at AHDB Potatoes. Over the course of the lockdown so far, processors have reportedly operated a lower output with reduced labour in accordance with social distancing guidelines. Many have opted to close certain product lines to reduce workloads. A continued loss in foodservice through to the end of the season is expected.

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How the Corona crisis is disrupting the European potato processing sector

Martine van der Wekken of FreshPlaza spoke with Hylke Brunt, the Dutch Potato Processing Industry Association’s (VAVI) secretary, and Romain Cools, general secretary of Belgapom, the Belgian potato trading and processing sectors’ professional association, to learn more about the lay of the land in the European processing sector from their respective vantage points. Hylke Brunt says the out-of-home market has collapsed throughout Europe. Romain Cools told van der Wekken the foodservice sector has largely vanished for everyone, locally and overseas.

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Canadian govt aims to help redistribute stranded potatoes; farmers say new program may not be enough

A first-of-its-kind federal program aimed at redistributing surplus food during the COVID-19 pandemic is an initial step toward moving some of the thousands of tonnes of excess potatoes currently stuck in storage on southern Alberta farms, producers say. However, farmers warn the $50-million program will only go so far, meaning large quantities of good-quality potatoes could still end up being turned out onto fields and left to rot this summer.

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‘The European potato world is upside down’: NEPG paints a dark picture of the current and future European situation

The North-western European Potato Growers (NEPG) says that the foodservice demand for potato products in Europe has dropped by 50 to 60%, and the export markets have lost its potential as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. It says the global potato processing industry has reduced production capacity everywhere. More than 2 million tons of raw product will most likely not be processed in Europe. This is the first time in recent history that processors have to back down on contracts. The world is upside down, the NEPG says in its press release

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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