Retail markets in Ireland remain static as school holidays are in full swing; demand for the processing sector is buoyant, according to this week’s market report by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA). The area of earlies planted is slightly less than 2021 area. Across Europe, processing activity continues to be very strong but buyers are now much more relaxed.
A third of fish and chip shops in Britain could be at risk of closure due to food shortages caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, industry leaders have warned. The National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) has called on the Government to “act now” to prevent “long-term damage” to the popular takeaways, Sky News reports.
Linwood Crops Limited, the UK based specialist fresh potato business, are doing their bit to help the people of Ukraine. In a news release, the company says that for every product ordered in March 2022 from its Chef’s Taste and MUST Have product range, it will donate to help secure urgent medical kits and supplies for those Ukrainians wounded in this horrific conflict.
Australians are consuming more potatoes than ever before according to new data. As Megan Hughes reports for ABC Rural, statistics from research and development organisation Hort Innovation shows 87 per cent of Australian households bought potatoes at the supermarket, taking home an average of 1.7 kilograms per shopping trip.
Potato sales from January to December 2021 increased compared to the same period in 2019, before the pandemic, but could not keep up with consumers’ increased time spent in home kitchens during 2020, according to Potatoes USA. The industry body says volume sales increased almost 5% compared to the more normalized time of 2019.
German retail giant Kaufland has rolled out low-carbohydrate potatoes, said to have 30% less carbohydrates, under its ‘Linella’ label. The new potato SKU is available across Germany at all Kaufland outlets, the retailer added. The innovative potato was created in collaboration with Kaufland’s long-term partner, Europlant Plant Breeding.
Wada Farms, one of America’s largest grower-shippers-marketers of fresh potatoes, onions and sweet potatoes for retail buyers and the food distribution industries and The Produce Moms, a leading digital influencer of all things fruits and vegetables, have moved their long-time partnership onto the retail shelf with a new co-branded potato package.
The Irish Farmers Association reports that retail demand has eased slightly, although colder weather forecasted should improve trade again in Ireland. The food service sector continues to prosper, despite it traditionally being a quieter period. Prices for the fresh sector in Europe are currently described as holding or slightly easier. Export demand is very quiet.
Waitrose & Partners is set to be the first major retailer to sign up to The UK Robust Potato Pledge, which will see the group move away from the use of copper-based fungicides on organic fresh potatoes in order to combat late blight. According to a report by European Supermarket Magazine, the group aims to achieve this by growing and selling only resistant or ‘robust’ organic fresh potatoes by 2026.
Several key UK retailers have pledged to sell disease resistant organic potatoes, boosting sustainability and farm resilience for producers. Organic certification body the Soil Association developed its ‘UK Robust Potato Pledge 2021’ in a bid to help growers move away from potatoes that are susceptible to blight. Signees to the pledge have agreed to favour organic spuds that have been bred to be blight resistant.
The marketing year that ended in June 2021 was unlike any year the potato industry has ever experienced, says Potatoes USA in a news release issued today. “With pandemic restrictions ebbing and flowing from June 2020 to July 2021, sales at foodservice fluctuated while retail purchases remained extremely strong throughout the year,” the industry body says.
The Simple Root, a new global plant-based brand backed by world leading FMCG McCain Foods, will launch in the UK later this year, harnessing the power of the potato to create delicious alternatives to dairy based foods. Launching in the UK with a global roll out across key markets to follow, the range includes versatile cooking sauces such as bechamel, truffle and cheese, and pesto, cream ‘cheeze,’ and a range of dips such as roasted garlic and herb and smoky chipotle.
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) reports that retail and consumer demand have improved in the country this week as colder weather has returned and families are back into routines, following the holiday period. The hospitability sector continues to prosper despite the return of schools. European markets continue to regain confidence as economies are almost fully re-opened at this point.
From July 2020 – June 2021, potato sales increased in dollars by 3% but declined slightly in volume by 0.3% compared to the previous July-June marketing year, according to Potatoes USA. Consumers bought 577 million more pounds of potatoes from July 2020 – June 2021 than July 2018 – June 2019. Refrigerated potatoes had the largest increase compared to the same period the previous year of 10.6% increase in dollars and a 5.3% increase in volume.
According to a market report issued by Potatoes USA, potato sales declined in dollars by 10.5% and in volume by 15.5% during April – June of 2021, compared to the same time period in 2020. However, when sales are compared to that same timeframe in 2019, sales increased in value and volume. Consumers bought 53 million more pounds of potatoes, demonstrating demand for potatoes is elevated in grocery stores.
Canadian supermarkets are soon to be stocking Indigenous-owned potato chip brand Tomahawk Chips. In just over five years an Indigenous business owner has taken an upstart potato chip business from humble roots in rural Manitoba, to a distribution deal that will now see his chips sold all across the country.
“We are changing how we go to shows and even how we market ourselves as a whole, because everybody always views us as onions and potatoes, but we do a lot of other items,” said Joe Esta, vice president of Wada Farms Marketing Group in Idaho Falls, ID. Wada Farms will be featuring its chipping potato, a round white potato marketed under the label Big Joe’s Chippers at the PMA Foodservice Expo in Monterey.
Potatoes are the top side dish in Belgium. On an average day in 2020, 41% of Belgians ate these (incl. fries). A lot of people were already eating potatoes at home. But, due to COVID-19 and its related measures, that rose in 2020. That’s according to a Flemish Agri and Fisheries Marketing Center (VLAM) press release. In 2020, home consumption of fresh potatoes increased by eight percent. That ended the downward trend in in-home consumption.
Smaller pack sizes and new packaging formats that allow potatoes to be microwaved for convenience, are among the industry trends being embraced by K&K Produce, which is based in Fingal, Co. Dublin. Established by Tommy and Deirdre Kennedy in 1984, K&K Produce is a family affair, with their three children, Thomas, Michael and Lisa, all involved in the business.
Tesco has become the first retailer in Ireland to make its packaging for 1kg new season potatoes fully recyclable while also reducing the amount of paper used in its 2.5kg potato packaging. This step change on packaging will commence on a 12-week trial basis in 100 stores, with plans to roll out the changes to more products if successful. As one of Ireland’s favourite grocery items, this change will have a significant impact on reducing plastic waste.
Potatoes USA’s complimentary online curriculum, “Potato University”, is designed for busy foodservice professionals who want to learn more about how to incorporate all types of potatoes – from fresh, to frozen, to dehydrated—into the menu. These online classes are an excellent resource packed with valuable potato insights, and they can be taken any time at one’s own pace. “Anyone interested in learning more about U.S. potatoes can take this self-paced course,” explains Kendra Keenan, Global Marketing Manager, Foodservice at Potatoes USA.
Strong demand for potatoes and potato products and tight domestic supplies continues to drive increases in imports for the current (July – June) marketing year, according to Potatoes USA. The industry body says for July 2020 – March 2021 total imports are up 9%, led by an 18% increase in chips and a 15% increase in dehydrated potatoes. The two largest categories frozen and fresh potatoes are up 9% and 5% respectively, while seed potato imports are up 14%.
Essex-based artisan crisp producer and potato grower, Fairfields Farm, has expanded its team with the appointment of a new Marketing Manager. Tash Jones, who previously looked after eCommerce, Digital Marketing and PR at Kettle Foods, is the company’s first full-time marketing hire. She will support significant business growth ambitions for both its Fairfields Farm and Ten Acre product lines.
In the latest episode of Potato-cast, a Potatoes USA podcast, Natalia Cervantes, Potatoes USA Conversation Architect, is joined by her guest Kayla Dome, Potatoes USA Global Retail Marketing Manager. Kayla points out that fresh potatoes are still driving larger baskets at retail outlets. She says March 2021 was expected to decline in sales compared to 2020 but specifically online grocery sales saw a 43% increase in online sales compared to 2020, a $9.3 billion dollar sales increase for that online category.
Known by many and loved by all – McCain Foods ‘Smiles’ are back in Australia – this time in mini form. C-AH-UTE! Take your tastebuds back in time with all the nostalgia feels of an Aussie family favourite, 12 years since production ceased. Gone but not forgotten, consumers across the country have inundated McCain Foods with calls, social media requests and even a petition for the return of this iconic snack. A Buzzfeed poll saw an impressive 97 per cent of contributors answering ‘Yes, duh!’ for McCain to bring ‘Smiles’ back. And the pressure has continued to build since.
A family-owned British potato farm in Yorkshire is celebrating 30 years of a successful partnership with Aldi. Located in Dunnington, R.S. Cockerill started supplying potatoes to the supermarket shortly after it opened its first British store back in 1990, making it one of Aldi’s longest supplier relationships. Starting from supplying just one pallet of potatoes with a team of 20, the business now supplies potatoes to over 150 stores across the country and employs over 145 people.