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.
For the first time in years; a significant change is coming to the UK’s fresh produce aisles. A Cambridgeshire potato business is setting out to change how consumers buy fresh potatoes. Chef’s Taste is an established fresh potato range used by chefs in the UK’s premium restaurants. Devised by Linwood Crops, Chef’s Taste presents the perfect potato for each culinary purpose: roasting, mashing, baking, chipping and salads. “The brand ultimately assures the very best taste, all year round,” the company says.
The growth in home cooking during the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in more families in Northern Ireland picking up packs of local potatoes for meals. It’s a development that Angus Wilson of Wilson’s Country in Craigavon, Northern Ireland’s largest potato processor, has been working towards for many years. In addition, novel potato products from the Northern Ireland company last week won acclaim for their quality and taste from retailers in Scotland in the shape of a major award for a UK producer in the influential Scottish Retail Food and Drink Awards.
The first Peruvian vodka made from Andean native potatoes was awarded its sixth international gold medal at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, one of the most important competitions in the United States, the State-run Innovate Peru (Innovate Yourself, Peru) Program reports. It says that Vodka 14 Inkas obtained this distinction for the third consecutive year – a celebration of the intensive research and development work done to achieve a high-quality product that meets international standards.
HyFun, which produces and exports frozen potato products, will be investing Rs 300 crore (approx US$40 million) for its intended expansion in India and will also move into the domestic retail sector. The company will expand the manufacturing capacity of its potato processing plant in Mehsana, Gujarat to over 2.5 times by 2022.
Global packaging and paper manufacturer Mondi has partnered with Polish compostable packaging producer SILBO to develop paper-based, eco-friendly packaging for potatoes. Created for Irish farm potato business Meade Farm Group, the packaging has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The solution will enable Meade to replace hard-to-recycle plastic with paper in line with its sustainability targets.
‘Foods that go farther’: Farther Farms closing the French fry gap, revolutionizing food processing, transportation, storage
Today, the French fry. Tomorrow, the global food supply chain. Farther Farms is a high-growth food technology start-up, based in Rochester, NY, working to solve one of society’s greatest challenges: how to make food go farther. The company began by creating the world’s first commercially-available shelf-stable, fresh-cut style French fry that’s never-frozen and ready-to-cook. The French fries have a 90-day shelf life at room temperature – no artificial preservatives added, and no freezing or refrigeration required.
Potatoes USA reports that potato sales for Q3 (January – March 2021) of Marketing Year 2021 have caught up to the changed buying habits that the pandemic brought about. March 2020 was an unprecedented time for potato sales in grocery stores as panic buying began a yearlong streak of record-high sales in dollars and volume. It is no surprise that sales in March of 2021 could not keep up with the buying patterns that occurred in that crazy month a year ago.
EarthFresh recently received the Best in Organic Product award in the ‘New Product Showcase’ at the CPMA’s Fresh Week Virtual Trade Show and Conference. “We have expanded our Organic product line up to include our Organic Red, Russet & Golden potatoes in new eye-catching 10-lb. compostable paper bags”, says Stephanie Cutaia, Marketing Director at EarthFresh.
If consumers “eat with their eyes first”, you could say that packaging is the main course. As such, communicating your brand through a unique package can be one of the most powerful tools in the produce aisle. Idaho based ProSource Produce is well aware of this and recently released the first images of its new branded Idaho russet potato packaging.
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) says in its latest weekly report that retail demand was buoyant over the Easter period in Ireland, but the food sector service in the country continues to trade at a minimum. Across Europe, another series of lockdowns is reportedly stifling potato demand and the main processors are keeping their requirements almost solely to contracts.
Driving toward a goal of using more sustainable materials in packaging, two Alexia Organic Potatoes brand products from potato producer Lamb Weston will use corn and potato starch in their packaging beginning in April 2021. The new packaging is partially made of potato starches.
Like many industries, 2020 brought a year of demand uncertainty for the potato processing industry with food service deeply affected in several states of Australia. Although the demand for crisps was strong, the processors of French fries were at times eagerly searching for frozen storage space as lockdowns and restrictions saw a rapid drop in consumption.
A marketing strategy that works: Idahoan Foods reached nearly 5 million new households since start of pandemic
Idahoan Foods saw sales of its fresh-dried mashed potato products rise during the pandemic as consumers cooked more meals at home. Consumers embraced more time at home by experimenting with new recipes, reaching for global flavors as a way to explore other cultures, and showed off their skills on social media. Idahoan tapped into these rapidly evolving consumer trends and pivoted marketing strategies throughout the year in order to connect with new households and keep encouraging consumers.
Some Utz Brands buyers are opting for snacks with healthier ingredients such as the avocado oil used to cook the Boulder Canyon potato chips, Utz Brands CEO Dylan Lissette told CNBC. The snack company has been rebranding and developing the Boulder Canyon chips since it bought its manufacturer Inventure Foods in 2017, said Lissette on CNBC’s Mad Money. “We’ve got a lot of excitement around those ‘better for you brands’,” Lissette said.
Throughout 2019, pre-packed potatoes lost out to loose potatoes as consumer concerns around plastic rose. However, as the coronavirus pandemic hit, this reversed, according to a report by Rebecca Gladman, Retail Insight Manager at AHDB. She reports that pre-packed potatoes’ share of volume reached 94.4% in the 12 w/e 21 Feb 2021 – an increase pof 1.6 percentage points on 2020 and the highest level it’s been at for around five years (Kantar).
Northern Ireland potato packer and processor Wilson’s Country says its 2020 sales to retail have grown at double the local market rate, thanks to its convenience range. Kantar data showed that the Northern Irish potato market grew at just over 8 per cent in volume, while sales of the Wilson’s Country brand rose almost 18 per cent for the same period, the packer said.
Lidl Ireland and its supplier, Meade Farm, have introduced an exclusive limited edition range of Irish Gold Potatoes which have hit stores just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Supplied exclusively to Lidl by their long-term supplier, Meade Farm, these premium unique white potatoes were grown by Meath-based Gibbstown Farm and have a distinct taste and traditional heritage, the discounter said.