Feeding Gen Z consumers: Insights into their eating habits, relationship with potatoes

A panel of five Generation Z consumers shared their attitudes and buying habits toward food, including their perception of potatoes at the Potatoes USA annual meeting. The panelists discussed the factors that influenced their food choices and how they use social media platforms. to find recipe inspiration. Their preferences varied, but some of them were health-conscious and preferred home-cooked meals. There’s an opportunity to educate this generation on their benefits.

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IFA: Northern European potato buyers ‘competing for the dwindling supply of old crop’

Retail sales and consumption are slightly subdued in Ireland due to the weather conditions over the past two weeks. The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) says in its weekly potato market report that irrigation of early Roosters is now taking place in parts of the country. IFA says buyers in Northern Europe are back in the market, competing for the dwindling supply of old crop and prices have edged higher again. First estimates of plantings indicate that areas are similar or slightly above last year.

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Innovative hydroponics: The promise of hydroponic potato cultivation using wood fiber

Scientists at the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research propose a new hydroponic system for growing potatoes using raw wood fiber as a growth medium. This study, aimed at enhancing global food security, addresses the challenges of a rising population, dwindling agricultural land, and changing climates. The system demonstrated higher yields than traditional farming, maintained nutrient values, and is scalable, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly. It also presents an opportunity for biofortification. The research underscores the need for innovation in sustainable urban agriculture.

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U.S. frozen potatoes lead surge in retail sales despite overall volume decrease

Potato retail sales from January-March 2023 increased by 16% in dollar terms in the U.S., despite a 4.4% volume decrease. According to Potatoes USA, frozen potatoes led sales growth, up by 41.9%, followed by instant and fresh potatoes. However, volume sales for instant and refrigerated potatoes declined significantly. All fresh potato types except white, fingerling, and purple saw increased dollar sales. The average price per pound for fresh potatoes rose 18.7%. Bagged potatoes less than two pounds were the only category to see both dollar and volume growth.

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Shaping sustainable farming: Prince Edward Island potato growers embrace slow release fertilizers

New research on Canada’s Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) province has convinced some Island potato farmers to switch over to what are known as “enhanced efficiency fertilizers”, that slowly release nitrogen when plants need it over the course of the season. Potato researcher Steve Watts of Genesis Crop Systems, described the enhanced efficiency fertilizers as giving crops three square meals a day, instead of every meal at breakfast. Watts said there are several different fertilizers that offer enhanced efficiency.

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Munching on fries in space? Yes, frying potatoes possible in outer space, ESA study reveals

The European Space Agency has supported research on frying potatoes in microgravity conditions, using a carousel-type apparatus on parabolic flights to simulate weightlessness. Despite concerns that lack of gravity might cause cooking issues, results indicate that vapor bubbles detach easily from potato surfaces, suggesting that astronauts could enjoy fried food on future missions.

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National Fish and Chip Day: Just Eat unveils the UK’s biggest fish and chip lovers

Just Eat data shows the North East is the UK’s top region for fish and chips, with over 50,000 orders this year. Cod is the most popular takeaway fish, and 73% of North East orders are for fish and chips. Across the UK, vinegar is the favourite condiment, especially among over 55s, while 18-34-year-olds prefer ketchup. Fluffy, thick-cut chips are most popular. Fish and chips rank as the seventh most popular UK cuisine on Just Eat, up from eighth in 2022.

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A landmark initiative: The Soil Health Project is helping to shape potato farming of the future

The University of Minnesota’s Soil Health project, a $8 million initiative – the largest in potato industry history – concludes its fifth year, having enhanced understanding of soil health in potato farming. Engaging over 50 academics from 10 institutions, the project set up experiments across seven states, surveyed hundreds of growers, and produced extensive educational materials, including a soil health manual for potato growers. Research methods included experimental research, social- psychological factor investigation, and economic modeling of soil health management.

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‘The Age of Snacks’: Frito-Lay and Quaker unveil summer snacking habits in the U.S.

Frito-Lay and Quaker have launched their inaugural U.S. Summer Snack Index, uncovering consumer snacking habits to enrich summer experiences. The report indicates that pre-planned snacks reduce road trip stress for 85% of Americans, and snacks are often prioritized over clean restrooms by younger road trippers. The study highlights the vital role of snacks in enhancing morale during trips and reducing traffic stress, with 41% of people preferring control over snacks rather than music during travel.

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What was behind Australia’s potato shortage? Wet weather and hard-to-control diseases

Australia faced a severe potato shortage due to wet weather, flooding, and persistent fungal diseases that destroyed crops in Tasmania, Victoria, and South Australia. The weather conditions, coupled with high fuel and fertiliser costs, led to delayed planting and harvesting, creating a ripple effect in the supply chain. Despite being efficient and profitable crops, growers face constant threats from soil-borne diseases. Scientists are working on predicting disease outbreaks through soil moisture and temperature monitoring.

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Report: Fertilizer affordability starts to improve after two turbulent years

Extreme market volatility and record-high prices severely impacted fertilizer demand in 2022. According to a new Rabobank report, affordability is starting to improve, and a rapid recovery in consumption is possible in some regions across the world in 2023. But in most cases, demand will take a while to return to pre-pandemic levels. Nitrogen-based fertilizers are very volatile, given their intrinsic connection with oil and natural gas. Potash prices continue to fall, but this is failing to raise demand.

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Potato Outlook 2023/24: After a record-breaking year, what is in store for US potatoes?

US potato production has decreased for the fourth straight year, driving prices to their highest levels. Analyst Almuhanad Melhim from Rabobank attributes this to strong demand for frozen potatoes and unmet demands for processing potatoes. Despite higher consumer prices, consumption isn’t expected to drop. Potatoes are predicted to gain an increased market value amidst inflation, while growers anticipate improved contract negotiations.

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The battle against viral diseases: Novel strategies for antiviral resistance in potatoes

Scientists at the Inner Mongolia Agricultural University have reviewed advancements in antiviral strategies in potatoes by modifying both viral and plant genes. Potatoes are threatened by viral diseases, causing significant yield losses. Traditional breeding methods have limitations due to the plant’s complex genetic structure. Progress in molecular biology and genetic engineering offers promising strategies, including RNA interference and CRISPR/Cas9, to create virus-resistant crops. RThe Battle Against Viral Diseases in Potatoes:esearchers aim to enhance potato resistance to viruses.

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‘From waste to wealth’: South African potato industry aims to unlock the potential of cull potatoes

Potatoes South Africa and the University of Pretoria have secured funding for a project to create a new value chain for ‘cull’ potatoes. The three-phase approach includes a detailed market research study, innovative product development, and the creation of a secondary market for these potatoes as feed for high protein insects. Stakeholders globally are invited to collaborate and contribute ideas, potentially revolutionizing waste potato utilization and enhancing the industry’s sustainability.

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Transforming potato peel waste: Exploring a biorefinery approach and its economic viability

Researchers at the University of Coimbra in Portugal conducted a study on the potential valorization of potato peel waste from the processing industry using a biorefinery approach. The approach includes extraction of valuable compounds, anaerobic digestion for energy recovery, and composting. While the concept shows promise, further research is needed to evaluate its economic viability.

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‘Growing green’: The rise of cover crops for sustainable farming, enhanced soil health on Prince Edward Island

As farmers continue to focus their efforts on sustainability, for Prince Edward Island on Canada’s east coast, that means preserving soil health and water quality. This is why Living Lab – Atlantic, a four-year collaborative innovation project on PEI between researchers, farmers, and other partners, tested cover cropping as a management practice to enhance soil health and sustainable production practices.

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Reimagining potato farming: McCain Foods’ Farm of the Future Canada shows promise after two growing seasons

McCain Foods’ Farm of the Future Canada has completed two growing seasons, demonstrating the potential of regenerative agriculture in sustainable potato farming. The farm achieved Expert level in three out of seven indicators of the McCain Foods Regenerative Agriculture Framework. Progress has been made in reducing pesticide toxicity and optimizing water use, with further plans to reduce synthetic fertilizers and incorporate precision agriculture technology. The project anticipates ongoing improvements in sustainability metrics.

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Unfulfilled promises: Non-traditional crop treatments fall short in enhancing potato yield and revenue, researchers found

Researchers at Washington State University completed a research study to assess 27 non-traditional crop treatments with 32 products to determine their effects on potato growth. The research team concluded that the treatments in their study did not provide significant economic advantages over standard grower practices for potato production near Othello, WA. They say there is no compelling argument for potato growers to include these non-traditional additives in their crop management plans.

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Chinese scientists achieve new breakthrough in hybrid potato breeding

Chinese scientists have made a breakthrough in hybrid potato breeding using evolutionary genomics to identify deleterious mutations. This discovery may shorten the breeding process and produce better potato varieties. The researchers also developed a whole-genome prediction model, improving trait prediction accuracy by 25-45%. This breakthrough could increase potato breeding efficiency by 50% and be applied to other crops.

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Acrylamide and human health: New pioneering study to monitor acrylamide formation in real time in crisp production

Abertay University and Taylors Snacks have partnered to enhance food safety in potato crisp production by minimizing acrylamide levels. The project, funded by Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme, aims to develop an online monitoring system for real-time acrylamide management, benefiting the entire industry as it meets European Commission benchmarks. The collaboration highlights the value of science at every stage of food production and the importance of academia and industry working together.

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U.S. potato industry battling viruses: Innovations for a healthier harvest show promising results

PRAC’s Potato Virus Initiative has made progress in efforts to manage potato viruses, optimizing tools for PVY testing, and identifying resistance sources against PMTV and powdery scab. The project focuses on preventing virus spread, enhancing detection methods, and discovering new resistance sources, with successful outreach efforts to share research findings nationwide.

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The next frontier in farming: Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools to detect crop diseases are on the way

Blights are destroying rubber trees in Brazil and ravaging potatoes in South India. Unpredictable and erratic weather patterns brought on by climate change will only exacerbate these problems — and, scientists say, make crop diseases more likely to strike and inflict major damage. Plant pathologist Karen Garrett of the University of Florida, Gainesville, believes that artificial intelligence (AI) could be immensely valuable in fighting these blights.

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A new frontier in food production: Unlocking the appeal and nutritional value of mashed potatoes for 3D food printing

Emerging technology in the realm of food production has given rise to 3D food printing. By building intricate designs layer by layer, this innovative technique allows for the production of complex shapes on demand. Personalized nutrition is made possible with 3D food printing, rendering it invaluable for athletes, those seeking weight loss, and individuals managing diseases.

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Record-breaking $2.1 billion U.S. potato exports in 2022: Surging demand amid global inflation and tight supply

In 2022, U.S. potato exports reached a record $2.1 billion in sales. Compared to 2021, volume sales declined -4.2% but were higher than 2018 and 2020 (fresh weight equivalent), according to a market report issued by Potatoes USA earlier today. According to the report, the value of U.S. potato exports rose across all potato types (frozen, fresh, dehydrated, seed, and chips), resulting in an 11% increase from the previous year.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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