It’s “very likely” Australia will face a potato shortage in coming months, the vice-president of horticulture at the Victorian Farmers’ Federation has warned. Kathryn Myers from the Victorian Farmers’ Federation says recent wet weather means farmers haven’t been able to plant potato crops. “It’s just not been possible to get tractors on the ground to work up our paddocks to put potatoes in,” she told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell in an interview.
Strong demand and higher pricing characterized the potato market in early November, and tight market conditions are expected to continue through the holidays, as Tom Karst reports for The Packer magazine. Lower acreage for fresh market potatoes in Idaho this year, combined with active demand from frozen potato processors, have contributed to higher pricing for this year’s crop. Elevated pricing at both the farm level and at retail are expected in a short crop year.
Australian grocer Woolworths Group said heavy rain may keep squeezing supply of farm-based staples, including potato chips, as soaring shelf prices contributed to a decline in first-quarter food sales, according to a report by European Supermarket Magazine.
RPE, LLC introduces a new potato, onion, and sweet potato commodity brand – Farmer’s Promise Serving Up Confidence®. The company says in a press release the brand bridges the gap between the farmer and the consumer using an omni channel strategy – digital media, in-store merchandising, QR codes and online connections. In less than a year, Farmer’s Promise is already a Top 10 national brand with higher sales productivity than historic brands.
McCain enters the Metaverse: Introducing ‘Regen Fries’, new partnerships to educate consumers on regenerative farming
McCain Foods is entering the Metaverse and introducing new ‘Regen Fries’ as part of the #SaveOurSoil initiative. Regen Fries are made with potatoes that are grown using regenerative farming methods which build soil health, improve biodiversity, and enhance on-farm resilience to climate change. McCain has committed to reimagining ways to grow potatoes that are ‘beneficial for both the planet and the communities in which it operates’.
Toronto-based EarthFresh is thrilled to be back in person at the IFPA Global Produce & Floral Show in Orlando this week. “We are excited to show our customers, suppliers and industry friends our full line of conventional and organic potato offerings, sweet potatoes and our new innovative value-added product line, ‘Fast. Fresh. Gourmet’,” says Jessica Hughes, director of innovation.
Some shops are overpricing potatoes while consumers are struggling to make ends meet. That’s the view of Potatoes South Africa (‘Potato Nation’) after it found a store where potatoes are sold at a heavily inflated price. The industry body is now launching a consumer awareness campaign, encouraging customers to shop around for appropriately priced potatoes.
Supermarkets have been hit by an unexpected product shortage as a result of the ongoing weather and supply chain issues in Australia, as Rebekah Scanlan reports for News.com.au. Farmers have been warning of a national potato shortage for months after huge amounts of crops were “wiped out” by wild weather earlier in the year.
Side Delights completed a package refresh and will showcase the new line at the IFPA Global Produce and Floral Show in Orlando on October 28-29, 2022. “We designed this packaging refresh using feedback from retailers and consumers, from a wide range of demographics and generations – from Gen Z to Boomers,” noted Kathleen Triou, president and CEO of Fresh Solutions Network.
PepsiCo UK announced a £14 million investment in new sustainable food packaging innovations that will remove 250 tonnes of virgin plastic from its supply chain annually. The outer plastic packaging on millions of Walkers 22- and 24- bag multipacks will be replaced with a new cardboard design which reduces the amount of virgin plastic the company uses. The new outer packaging will be on-shelves in all major supermarkets in the UK in the coming weeks.
MountainKing has launched a re-brand of one of its popular, gourmet varietals with the introduction of its Butter Cream Potatoes, now available in three-pound poly mesh bags, the company says in a recent news release. “The new Butter Cream name speaks to the attributes of this yellow-flesh variety in a way that resonates with the shopper,” says Andreas Trettin, marketing director for MountainKing.
Potatoes USA says in its latest monthly newsletter that potato retail sales increased in dollar sales but decreased in volume sales from July 2021 – June 2022, compared to the same timeframe a year ago. As consumer prices increased by 10.5%, retail dollar sales increased by 5.7%. The total volume sales decreased 4.4% from the same time a year ago, but they remained above volume sales prior to the pandemic. Dollar sales have continuously increased over the last five years.
The prices of basic foods including chicken, vegetables, milk and potatoes have increased by up to 60% in local supermarkets in Britain over the last six months. According to a report by Joel Adams for Eastern Daily Press (EDP), a standard 2.5kg bag of white potatoes in both Sainsbury’s and Tesco are now an eye-watering 61 or 62% more expensive than in April respectively, and have shot up 51% in Aldi too. Norfolk potato farmers said retail prices continue to climb through the autumn.
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.