Promotion/Marketing

The Packer: How the US produce industry responds to the pandemic

With the Farmers to Families Food Box Program underway across the country, companies are busy packing and sending fresh produce to food banks. Chris Koger of The Packer provides a round-up of recent COVID-19-related news. As far as potatoes are concerned, Koger writes that Potatoes USA is connecting with industry members through a new video series, Keeping It Current, to explain what the organization has been doing during the pandemic.

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High demand puts Wisconsin spuds in a good spot

Wisconsin spuds had a shaky start to the COVID-19 pandemic, but high consumer demand has put potatoes in a good spot, says the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association. “The retail demand increased tremendously with the advent of COVID,” Executive Director Tamas Houlihan said. “Grocery store sales were through the roof, people were stocking up, and they weren’t buying the usual 5 and 10 pound bags. They were buying as much as they could.”

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AHDB potato marketing campaign: Bud is back and taking to the small screen!

Hot potato Bud the Spud will make his British television debut this summer as part of a £100,000 marketing push. AHDB says in a news release that it has refreshed the successful More Than a Bit on the Side campaign to support retail sales of potatoes in the wake of COVID-19. The tongue-in-cheek campaign, which features saucy character Bud alongside a range of suggestive slogans, aims to inspire home cooks to add an extra potato meal to their weekly repertoire.

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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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World Potato Markets: Assessing a season like no other

The coronavirus has disrupted the global potato market like no other single event before it, but there are some signs things settling at least a new normal, according to Cedric Porter, editor of World Potato Markets. World Potato Markets has just published its annual review of production, prices and trade. Potato News Today readers can enjoy a special purchase rate.

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US potato exports begin to slow

The world-wide coronavirus pandemic is impacting U.S. potato exports, as seen in the figures for March, according to Potatoes USA. In a press release issued today, the organization says U.S. exports of frozen potato products were off 12% in March 2020 compared to 2019. Exports of dehydrated potatoes were off 16%, and fresh were off 13% from the previous year.

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Why Wisconsin potato farmers could be in trouble

As of now, potato farmers in Wisconsin haven’t been hit too bad by the coronavirus. They’re going to be hit this Fall, according to a report by WHBL Radio. The problem for Wisconsin growers is that a lot of the state’s potatoes have gone to the fresh produce side of the industry. That’s totally fine for now, but once Fall hits and you have the potatoes from the Midwest and the ones coming from the Western states, it’s going to be an issue.

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The potato portal: New buyer and grower ‘match-making’ website goes live

AHDB in the UK has launched a new portal to help put potato growers and wholesale buyers in touch with each other. The portal will act as a ‘match-making’ site for growers and merchants to find each other, with any trade taking place directly between them. Growers can view any requests on the portal from merchants and/or post available stocks of potatoes. Merchants can view available stocks from growers and/or post requests for specific varieties and/or volumes of potatoes.

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Restaurant-grade gourmet potatoes go on sale in Tesco to ease glut

Gourmet potatoes favoured by top chefs and typically found only on the menus of high-end restaurants are to go on sale in Tesco this week to avoid them going to waste, according to news report by The Guardian in the UK. The move aims to ease a glut of fresh potatoes in the UK, with thousands of tonnes unused since the government ordered the closure of hospitality businesses on 23 March.

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Report: Current and future trends in the Ukrainian potato market

“The 2019/20 potato season in the Ukraine turned out to be the most unprecedented within the whole history of our monitoring,” says the market information company Fruit-Inform in a recent report. “We expected an increase of potato imports into the Ukraine of up to 21,000 tons in our autumn forecast. However, as of March, the imports totaled 300,000 tons!

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Dutch processing potatoes sold on the Ukrainian fresh market

The Netherlands has begun supplying potatoes, originally intended for processing, to the Ukraine. Despite the fact that these varieties are not intended for fresh consumption, the processing potatoes from the Netherlands sell well on the fresh market in the Ukraine, mostly because these potatoes are of high quality, while it is sold at prices similar to local Ukrainian potatoes.

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AHDB set to launch online marketing tool to help cut surplus potato stocks

The AHDB in the UK is set to launch a marketing tool to help shift surplus potato stocks caused by a drop-off in demand since the Covid-19 lockdown. Food service sector demand for potatoes collapsed when the measures forced the closure of commercial outlets such as restaurants and many chip shops, reports Jonathan Riley for Farmers Weekly. To help move some of the surplus, the AHDB has set up a website, to be launched next week once final security testing has been completed. The aim is to provide a matchmaking service between growers with surpluses in their stores and potential buyers.

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Canada: The Little Potato Company’s Angela Santiago talks creamer potato demand, online trends, and cross-merchandising

If the food pyramid had a “comfort” category, potatoes would certainly be pictured. “It is a vegetable item that is not as highly perishable as other fresh produce items, and potatoes are familiar. There’s no learning what to do with them,” says Angela Santiago, CEO and Co-Founder of The Little Potato Company. As we discuss the pivot the COVID-19 pandemic demanded of our industry, and of her team specifically, Angela walks me through the impacts of this temporary normal.

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Britain’s AHDB announces extended marketing campaign and trade portal to help shift spuds

AHDB released plans for an extended consumer marketing campaign, and a portal to help put the growers and buyers of potatoes in touch. AHDB says it is increasing consumer marketing activity for the year ahead, with a lockdown boost through social media, advertising, promotion via catch-up TV and activity within retail outlets. A trade portal will be launched this week where wholesale potato buyers and merchants can post requirements for potatoes, and growers can post available stocks.

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Idaho potatoes to be sold online?

According to a Capital Press report, the Idaho Potato Commission is considering advertising on major online sales platforms such as Amazon, Walmart and Kroger Co. websites. “If we ran a program starting in May through August, it could cost a little over $100,000,” Commission CEO Frank Muir said. Costs would be covered by recently lower spending on travel and on certain promotion and incentive programs. He has not yet made a formal recommendation to commissioners.

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Support for British potato growers: Tesco commits to now sell chipping varieties as part of its ‘Perfectly Imperfect’ range

More potatoes will hit shelves from this week to meet soaring demand. UK potato growers who have been left with surplus stock because of the closure of restaurants and fast food outlets are being given a helping hand by Tesco. The closure of restaurants, pubs and many fast food outlets has left a major surplus of particular varieties that are made into chips, which potato growers cannot now easily sell on. Now Tesco has teamed up with potato supplier Branston to take these potatoes that were previously destined for the catering trade.

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Washington farmers’ COVID plight: ‘What do you do with a billion pounds of potatoes that you can’t sell?’

The coronavirus pandemic has left Washington’s farmers with at least a billion pounds of potatoes they can’t sell, a new crop growing without any buyers and millions of dollars in debt they have no way to pay. As it turns out, getting rid of a billion pounds of spuds isn’t easy — or cheap. It usually takes Washington farmers a year to sell that quantity to grocery stores. “Now we’re trying to move it in a couple months,” Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission said.

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Video: AHDB Potatoes strategy director provides overview and outlook for the British potato market

In this video, published May 1 by AHDB Potatoes in the UK, strategy director Rob Clayton provides some context around the March stocks estimate (released May 1). Dr Clayton says that this estimate is an important ‘line in the sand’ which allows AHDB to calculate how much potatoes are left in growers’ stores, which in turn will help AHDB to strategize and plan different marketing scenarios for the rest of the spring and into the summer.

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Packer Interview – Houston Food Bank reports on the ‘Buy Fresh’ program

The Packer’s Tom Karst visited April 24 with Sabrina Bosiacki, agriculture industry manager for the Houston Food Bank, about the promise of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Buy Fresh Program. “The amount of need that we’re seeing right now is unprecedented,” Bosiacki said. “Just two days ago (April 22), we distributed 1.3 million pounds of food in a single day, which far surpasses our old record that we had attained post-hurricane Harvey; so we’ve never seen anything like this before since we became a food bank in the 80s.”

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Potatoes USA: ‘Potatoes show largest sales increase of all vegetables sold at retail in March’

Retail purchases of all potato products were 41 percent higher in March 2020 compared to the same time frame last year, according to figures released by industry marketing body, Potatoes USA. “Consumers give potatoes high marks for being a satisfying food that everyone enjoys and for being a great value,” said Blair Richardson, CEO of Potatoes USA. Fresh potatoes have experienced a 42 percent volume increase since the beginning of March and a 67 percent year-over-year dollar sales increase as of the end of the first week of April.

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Interview with Chris Claridge, CEO of Potatoes New Zealand

Passionate about horticulture and adding value to New Zealand’s primary produce, Chris Claridge founded Claridges Organics, one of New Zealand’s first organic food exporting businesses. In a recent interview with Sarah Perriam, Chris reflects on how the potato industry in New Zealand has suffered from the interruptions to the hospitality sector. He also discusses the NZ potato industry’s target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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Side Delights Gourmet Petite Potatoes receives US packaging design award

Side Delights® announced its third packaging design award in five years. Graphic Design USA announced its 57th American Packaging Design Awards online today, including The Side Delights® Gourmet Petite fresh potato package. The design was created to include a clean, elegant design that evokes the feeling of a white tablecloth restaurant.

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Newly launched food marketplace creates vital network for local British food producers

A new online marketplace, Foodens has launched in the UK – connecting shops and food suppliers with their local communities. Businesses can list food boxes for sale (for both collection and delivery), helping to distribute food across the UK in a safe zero-contact manner, Farmers Guide reports. Foodens.com is run by the Foodens Foundation, a non-profit organisation.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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