Discussions on supply contracts for the 2023 potato crop have commenced early, although at the time of writing, many potato growers in the UK are no further forward in reaching agreement, as Robert Harris reports for Farmers Weekly. A reduction in area is both necessary and inevitable, says Andersons director Nick Blake. A number of growers are choosing to exit.
Let’s start the new year off talking about one of the sometimes-unsung superstars of the produce department: ‘the potato’, writes Brian Dey in this news story published by The Packer. Potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse, not to mention super tasty when prepared a multitude of ways. They’re great as a main course, side dish or snack. Brian Dey suggests three short tips on how retailers can maximize their potato sales and profits.
Farmers have been left outraged as Sainsbury’s, among other UK supermarkets, has discounted the price of potatoes in the run up to Christmas, according to a report by Grocery Gazette. As a result of the price drops, farmers and consumers on Twitter are fearing this will reduce the value of vegetables, while growers deal with added inflationary pressures, according to reporting by Farming Guardian.
Trade of potatoes is buoyant at present, as expected for the busiest shopping week of the year, the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) says in its weekly potato market report. Across Europe, demand for the holiday period had just started to improve. Export demand is reported to be reduced in the run up to the holiday period.
Arbitrators have ruled in favour of the EU in the World Trade Organization (WTO) appeal regarding Colombia’s anti-dumping duties on frozen fries originating from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. The European Potato Processors’ Association (EUPPA) says in a news release the final and binding award confirms that these anti-dumping duties breach WTO rules and improperly restrict access to the Colombian market.
Across the globe, restaurants are back to operating at normal capacity, borders are opening for tourism, and many consumers are looking for high-quality, nutritious food options, all leading to strong demand for U.S. potatoes, according to Potatoes USA. Fresh exports were up in some major markets, including Mexico, up nearly 7%. Fresh exports also increased to the Central American region by over 50% and South Korea by 180%.
The next Potato Business Summit will be hosted during the Potato Expo on Wednesday, January 4, 2023 at the Gaylord Rockies Resort in Aurora, Colorado. Proven to be one of the popular events during the annual Expo, it is co-sponsored and presented by the United Potato Growers of America (UPGA), the Potato Marketing Association of North America (PMA), and the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC). Those interested to attend are encouraged to register online soon.
It might not be so easy to get your hands on some delicious hot chips [fries] this summer or when you do, be prepared to pay a higher price than usual. As Chantelle Francis reports for News.com.au, processed potatoes used for potato chips, crisps and other potato products are in tight supply, the industry warns.
The general manager of Merlog Foods, told Farmer’s Weekly that the price of frozen French fries had almost doubled over the past year in South Africa due to the introduction of import tariffs, which, according to him, created a shortage of French fries on the market. However, Willie Jacobs, CEO of Potatoes SA, stressed that the import tariffs, which amounted to 23% for Belgium, 104% for the Netherlands and 181% for German suppliers, were necessary to protect the local industry against “dumping” and did not affect food security in South Africa.
Hot chip crisis: Spud King Tony Galati’s plan to save Western Australia from a national potato shortage
Australia is facing a potato shortage after wild east coast weather ravaged farms and delayed growers’ sowing crops — which means hot chippies are becoming scarce — but don’t worry, there’s a man with a plan, as Rebecca Le May and Elisia Seeber report for PerthNow. The Spudshed founder Tony Galati revealed to The West Australian he has brought forward a long-standing plan to add a frozen chip and potato crisp processing arm to his ever-expanding horticulture and retail empire.
UPGC report: Canada brings in another record potato crop in 2022, despite adverse weather and regional variability
Statistics Canada has estimated Canadian Potato Production in 2022 to be 122,970,000 hundred weight, up 0.8% over 2021. Despite a very cold and wet spring delaying planting and very hot, dry weather in many parts of Canada throughout August and into the harvest, Canada still brought in another record crop compared to the 5-year average, a good supply to match the continually increasing demand for processing potatoes both here in Canada and in the United States, reports Victoria Stamper, General Manager of United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC).
Potatoes USA: Despite slight decrease in volume, potato retail sales increased above pre-pandemic levels in dollar sales
Potato retail sales increased in dollar sales by 17.8% but decreased in volume sales by 2.1% from July – September 2022 compared to the same timeframe a year ago, according to a news release issued by Potatoes USA today. The industry body says despite a small decrease in volume sales, volume sales remain above pre-pandemic levels. Over the last five years, the average consumer price per pound of potatoes has increased each year.
There are two things we know for sure, writes Ian Petrie in a news story published by Island Farmer. He goes on to say that Prince Edward Island (PEI) potato growers in Canada “want to use their snow blowers to move snow this winter, not destroy potatoes. Secondly, the National Potato Council, the U.S. potato industry’s political lobbying arm in Washington, wants another import ban on all PEI potatoes claiming economically devastating potato wart can’t be stopped without it. One of these groups won’t get what they want.”
The ban on UK seed potato exports to the EU and Northern Ireland has reached crisis point for Northern Irish potato growers who depend ”very heavily” on seed imported from Scotland, according to leading Irish potato grower-packer Wilson’s Country. Wilson’s Country CEO Angus Wilson told Northern Ireland Minister of State Steve Baker MP that the ban could severely damage the competitiveness of potato production in Northern Ireland.
The Mintec benchmark price for packing potatoes in the UK declined by 5% month-on-month on the week of 23 November. Despite the recent decline in prices, they remain up 31% year-on-year. Potato growers continue to face higher production costs, largely for energy, fertiliser and transportation. The cost of storing potatoes rose significantly compared to 2021.
Retail demand and household consumption in Ireland have picked up since colder weather has set in, as the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) reports. Storage costs are a multiple of last year’s costs and growers must immediately receive an increase at farm gate level to compensate for this, IFA says. In the U.K. ambient stores are difficult to hold while it has been so mild and “wets” in bags are a problem for some growers.
IFA: Harvesting conditions in Ireland ‘very difficult’, European growers hoping for movement in fresh markets
According to the IFA, growers in Ireland continue to harvest where possible, with some progress being made in the last week but conditions were very difficult. Ireland’s National Potato Conference will take place next Tuesday November 22nd. Across Europe, on the fresh markets, growers have been pushing for movement to avoid storage costs.
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.
After USDA risk assessment, NPC urges increased protections to prevent Prince Edward Island potato wart spread
On Thurs., Nov. 10, the National Potato Council (NPC) in the U.S. and a dozen state potato associations issued a letter to USDA Undersecretary of Marketing and Regulatory Services Jenny Moffitt calling on the department to work with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to develop new phytosanitary protocols to prevent the spread of potato wart from Prince Edward Island to U.S. growing areas. USDA concluded the disease is “almost certain to be introduced” to the United States without additional mitigation measures.
IFA: Harvest conditions in Ireland ‘very poor’, European growers push for sales to avoid storage costs
Retail sales and consumption have picked up and stabilised in Ireland since the weather has deteriorated. According to the Irish Farmers Association’s (IFA) weekly market report, harvest conditions remain very poor following heavy rainfall. Across Europe in the fresh consumption sector, a good steady demand is reported, with values in Germany edging higher. While markets are currently flat, growers are pushing for sales to avoid storage costs.
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.
Harvest was ground to a halt in many areas in Ireland over the last week with very wet weather conditions, the outlook for the next week looks unsettled also, the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) says in its weekly potato market report. There are reports of some quality issues with current conditions. Across Europe, those with quality samples are confident and continue to try to force prices higher. There is an anticipation that values will improve in the fresh sector.
USDA report on potato wart crisis: Extent of infestation on Prince Edward Island ‘likely larger’, current mitigation measures ‘insufficient’
On October 14, USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service released a comprehensive report on the current status of the potato wart crisis on Prince Edward Island, Canada, stating that PEI’s potato wart infestation is “likely” larger than reported and that the virus is “almost certain to be introduced” to the United States without additional mitigation measures in place.
Lamb Weston announced today that it will purchase the remaining equity interests in its European joint venture with Meijer Frozen Foods B.V. for €700 million. Upon completion of the transaction, Lamb Weston will own 100% of Lamb-Weston/Meijer. “Lamb-Weston/Meijer was built over the last 28 years, and we’re grateful to Meijer Frozen Foods for their longstanding partnership,” said Tom Werner, President and CEO of Lamb Weston.