Idaho’s iconic potato industry suffered through a major scare due to the restrictions and shutdowns imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic. But major efforts by the industry that were coordinated by the state and national groups that represent it have helped potato producers weather that storm. And one major silver lining of the challenge is that U.S. consumers have learned how important spuds are. That was one of the main messages during the Idaho Potato Commission’s annual, “The Big Idaho Potato Harvest Meeting,” which was held virtually Nov. 12.
According to an article published by Blue Book Services, Canada has put a stake in the ground when it comes to exporting potatoes into the US. Blue Book says Canada trailed Minnesota and Oregon in terms of volume in 2019. However, in 2020 it has surged to the No. 4 spot by bringing in nearly 450 million more pounds of product.
Supplying McDonald’s with all their potatoes means a Canterbury grower has been able to avoid the worst effects of a Covid-19-inspired glut of overseas potatoes on the New Zealand market. Canterbury-based Hewson Farms produces around 22,000 tonnes of potatoes every year – 12,000 tonnes of which end up as McDonald’s fries. However, a 2.6 million tonne surplus of the vegetable in Europe – floods of spuds – is causing headaches for New Zealand growers and processors.
The outlook is good for high-quality crops of red and yellow potatoes from North Dakota and Minnesota, reports Sandy Lindblad Lee for Produce Business. Optimistic predictions for an excellent crop of consistent volume of Red River Valley potatoes is gratifying news for the multitude of buyers and consumers who look forward to these famous fresh spuds. This forecast is even more welcome following last season’s heavy losses in the Valley’s central and southern growing regions.
The review of the decision by Biosecurity Tasmania on fresh potato imports comes with a couple of modifications to the original decision which upset Tasmanian potato growers. Biosecurity Tasmania has also been given a slap on the wrist by Primary Industries Minister Guy Barnett for the way in which the decision was made without consultation. And the company which won the approval to bring potatoes into the state says the process to get the go ahead has been a waste of time as none wants to market the spuds.
Potatoes’ versatility and health benefits have been highlighted during a three-month lockdown marketing campaign by AHDB, reports News Journalist Kelly Henaughen for The Scottish Farmer. From May to July, the levy-funded body brought back its Bud the Spud character to encourage consumers to rethink the way they saw potatoes in a continuation of the ‘More Than a Bit on the Side’ campaign.
A Suffolk farmer is at the forefront of a promotional campaign by fast food giant McDonald’s highlighting its commitment to UK produce. Andrew Francis, who runs the farm operation at the Earl of Iveagh’s Elveden Estate near Thetford and supplies the chain with potatoes – features in a new Map My McDonald’s interactive tool which allows customers to see some of its army of 23,000 British and Irish farmer suppliers.
Forgot how long it takes to bake a potato or if spuds should be stored in the refrigerator? Answers to these questions and hundreds more can easily be found at Dr. Potato on the Idaho Potato Commission’s (IPC) website. “Dr. Potato was born because we were receiving hundreds of questions about potatoes from consumers and foodservice operators. Since many of the questions were recurring, we thought it would be most efficient to post them online so folks could access them immediately and at any time of day,” explained Frank Muir, President & CEO, IPC.
Between May and July this year AHDB’s marketing team ran a successful campaign which aimed to keep potatoes relevant to consumers while educating them about their versatility, ease of use and health benefits, the organization says in a recent news article. In response to the market dynamics created by COVID-19, AHDB says there was a need to create additional demand in retail and drive volume in sales to attempt to make up for some of the losses through foodservice. Bud the Spud’ was part of a marketing campaign (More Than a Bit on the Side) with proven positive results.
Following eight years at the helm of Potatoes South Australia, Robbie Davis will be stepping down from her role of Chief Executive at the end of 2020. The change comes as the Association moves into new territory with a greater emphasis on Brand Australia and growing national significance of the world’s 3rd largest food crop to the Australian horticulture industry. Despite this inevitable and exciting new challenge, Robbie believes it is the right time to say farewell to the representative body she has built with the help of a band of dedicated stakeholders from all sectors.
Potato seed and ware exports from the UK could be interrupted in a Brexit no deal scenario and there are signs that seed potato growers are looking to export potatoes before the transition period ends on December 31, writes Marianne Curtis in an article published by Farmers Guardian. Patrick Hughes, AHDB head of export trade development – potatoes, explains: “At the moment we don’t have third country equivalence and if there is no deal, it will not be in the offing straightaway. This would stop all exports of potatoes to the EU – both seed and ware.”
If you’re a British farmer looking to engage with your local school, AHDB says it is ready to help. In a recent news release, AHDB says it provides tools and resources that help farmers educate schoolchildren about farming and where food comes from. There are five different ways farmers can help children learn more about farming.
While shoppers’ smiles are currently hidden behind their masks, they’ll soon spot plenty of friendly faces in the snack aisle thanks to Lay’s, which is converting millions of potato chip bags to feature the real smiles of 30 “ordinary” people doing extraordinary things in their communities. During a time when joy is needed more than ever, the new Lay’s bags continue the brand’s mission to inspire even more smiles in 2020, with up to $1 million in proceeds benefitting Operation Smile.
MountainKing has added Cindy Adkins, a former owner and operator of the nation’s largest certified organic packer of fingerling potatoes, to its team of sales representatives. Based in Colorado, where she started growing and harvesting fingerlings back in 1997, Adkins will be responsible for helping MountainKing’s retail partners increase sales of the company’s small round varieties and fingerlings. “As a vertically integrated company, MountainKing can compete with any major producer and packing house.” Cindy says.
Just days before his Center, CO, operation kicked off its 2020 San Luis Valley potato season, Skyline Potato Co. General Manager Les Alderete said he was optimistic about the overall market situation and the coming year. “We’re hoping for a decent year,” Alderete said in mid-August, adding that although the summer had been hot and dry, the growing season was good and harvest weather forecasts were also favorable. He did say that water in the San Luis Valley is “tight” after a short snowpack.
Isle of Ely Produce have created a chip ambassador scheme, consisting of shop owners and fryers who will promote best practice for potato buying, storing and frying, reports Daniel Mason for Elystandard. The Ely company aims to continue the work it has done through their open days and the ‘field to frier’ award it sponsors at the national fish and chip awards. As part of the scheme, chip ambassadors will be used to sample new varieties that come into the market brought by potato distributor Agrico and Isle of Ely, such as Babylon and Lugano.
A group of U.S. Senators is encouraging action to be taken in the potato dispute with Mexico. In a letter sent to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the lawmakers urged more support for U.S. exports of fresh potatoes. Mexico was the third most important destination for potato exports in the marketing year 2019, valued at $239 million. According to Potatoes USA, the volume of American exports of frozen potato products increased 12 percent to Mexico for the marketing year 2020, after a 20 percent retaliatory tariff resulted in a disappointing 2019.
Free-buy potato markets in the UK continue to see pressure on prices. Increasingly available supply for markets has met a widespread muted level of demand. Trade has remained on a steady level, consisting of mostly repeat orders. Processing markets have been reported as steady this week, with some better levels of demand for frozen potato products following the government ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ voucher scheme. Processing markets look to the return of education sectors for an increased level of demand in the next few weeks.
The head of the Union for Producers and Exporters of Horticultural Crops (UPEHC) Mohamed Heggi announced Saturday that Egypt’s exports of potatoes this year has fallen by 25 percent, due to the coronavirus crisis and its impact on exports in general. Egypt exported 673,000 tons of potatoes this year, falling short of the target for 850,000 tons. He added that potatoes were planted on 408,000 feddans (171,000 ha), with the largest amount cultivated during the winter planting period which saw production reaching three million tons.
When COVID-19 hit, the dynamics in the food supply chain were catapulted into completely uncharted waters, the team at ClimateAI writes in an article published on Medium. The authors dive deep into one crop that has been front and center throughout the pandemic: the potato. What happens to the supply chain when McDonalds stops producing fries, restaurants around the world are forced to close overnight, and potato chips and table potatoes become retail gold? According to ClimateAI, the case study will help readers build a deep understanding of the impacts that the pandemic sent rippling across the food supply chain.
Keeping children engaged in the Grow Your Own Potatoes (GYOP) project has been a priority for AHDB Potatoes’ education team, ever since schools closed back in March, not long after planting their potatoes as part of this year’s GYOP project. GYOP was launched in 2004 and since then over 5 million children in Britain have discovered where potatoes come from, how they grow and their health benefits. The value of the programme has been recognised by the general public, and also by the potato and food industry.
Lay’s is hoping some new potato chip flavors can partially satisfy some cravings folks may have for the food at some of their favorite travel destinations. Since you can’t hop on a plane, Lay’s is bringing the destination to customers. The four new flavors feature Greece, Thailand, Mexico, and Germany. You can’t just get them in the store: you have to win them. To do so, just reply to one of the company’s social media pages and tell them which country you’d like to visit.
With consumer demand increasing for plant-based menu options, now is the time to put more spuds on your menu. Potatoes are a staple in nearly every cultural cuisine, so they’re uniquely suited to deliver today’s most craved global flavours, says Potatoes USA in this article prepared by Caterer Middle East staff. Being naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free, and low in sodium, this makes potatoes the perfect product for a healthy diet.