Nourish Food Marketing, in partnership with Kahntact have released their 7th annual Trend Report. The 2023 Report provides insight into nine key trends that will shape and transform the food and agricultural world in 2023 and beyond, from ‘un-ignorable’ issues like climate change to the historic highs of food inflation, ‘female food’, and the future of eco-conscious agriculture.
This article was written by John Mesko, Executive Director, Potato Sustainability Alliance (PSA). “The topic of sustainability and all of its relatives – regenerative, climate-smart, and resource positive – are the hottest focus in agriculture right now,” Mesko wrote. “These initiatives are growing in popularity and influence because of the legitimate promise that farming practices can change the world. [But]…climate-smart practices are not being adopted as fast as climate experts tell us they need to be.”
Production in the North Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) member countries is said to be down by 6% this year compared to last year. Planted acreage is expected to go down in 2023 because of rising production and storage costs in the four member countries – Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands (EU-4). On average in the NEPG zone, between October 2021 and October this year, electricity prices have gone up on average by 280% (ranging from 50 to 500% increase).
In collaboration with William Masters at Tufts University, Chris Said from Apollo Academic Surveys asked leaders, fellows, and awardees of the American Society of Agronomy, the American Society of Animal Science, and the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association about their views on agriculture and food production. The results of the survey was publish by Apollo Academic Surveys in a report on October 7, 2022.
In an extensive article published on the HandWiki website, it is said that climate change is predicted to have significant effects on global potato production. Like many crops, potatoes are likely to be affected by changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide, temperature and precipitation, as well as interactions between these factors.
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.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced details of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) $300 million investment in a new Organic Transition Initiative that will help build new and better markets and streams of income for farmers and producers. USDA says organic production allows producers to hold a unique position in the marketplace and thus take home a greater share of the food dollar.
First-of-its-kind: McCain and Farm Credit Canada come together to support potato growers’ sustainable practices
McCain Foods and Farm Credit Canada (FCC) have come together with a new offering to reduce financial barriers for potato farmers who are transitioning to sustainable agricultural practices. McCain Foods says smart and sustainable farming is a key pillar of the company’s commitment to be more environmentally conscious, anchored on its commitment to regenerative agriculture.
PepsiCo Chairman on Positive Agriculture strategy: ‘An incredible start to our transformation journey’
“I’m excited to celebrate the one-year anniversary of pep+,” says Ramon Laguarta, Chairman and Chief CEO at PepsiCo in a LinkedIn post earlier today. “It’s been an incredible start to our transformation journey,” Laguarta posts. PepsiCo Positive (pep+) launched just over one year ago. PepsiCo’s sustainability leaders across the globe share what they learned during the first year of the company’s end-to-end transformation in a news article published on the PepsiCo website earlier today.
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’.
In March this year, Del Currie launched Spudos, which now supplies crisps to more than 65 so-called “zero-waste shops” across the UK and Republic of Ireland. The biggest names in the crisps sector say they will need additional time to switch to more environmentally-friendly packaging. In the meantime, it is smaller crisps firms who are leading the way in terms of more eco-friendly packaging, such as Canadian business Humble Potato Chips. In the UK, farmers Sean Mason and Mark Green launched sustainable crisps brand Two Farmers.
Farm input inflation has reached unprecedented levels in Great Britain, with seven out of nine categories seeing double-digit cost increases in the past year, threatening the viability of many farm businesses. As Philip Clarke reports for Farmers Weekly, latest figures from the country’s largest buying group, AF, show that, in the 12 months to September 2022, the cost of farm inputs went up by an “eye-watering” 34%.
A new modified corn and potato variety have been given the green light by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The potato plant from J.R. Simplot Company was modified to make it resistant to potato late blight and potato virus Y. It was also modified to alter the potato tuber sugar profile and quality.
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.
The end of the Idaho potato harvest was in view when DTN/Progressive Farmer visited Russell Paterson’s farm not far from Burley, Idaho, a community on the Snake River in south-central Idaho and about 40 miles east of Twin Falls. The Idaho native has been in the potato business for 55 years, growing the crop and leasing land to other growers. Dan Miller, Progressive Farmer Senior Editor reports in this news article.
The humble potato may struggle to grow in the UK in years to come due to climate change, researchers have warned. The James Hutton Institute (JHI) at Invergowrie, just outside Dundee, is now trying to find varieties that will grow in warmer conditions. Prof Lesley Torrance, the JHI research organisation’s executive director of science, warned that climate change posed an “existential threat” to the potato industry.
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.
Potato yields have declined year on year by approximately 10 to 15% in 2022, Teagasc has confirmed. “In some areas the fall-off in yield has been significantly greater than 15%,” said Shay Phelan, Teagasc potato specialist. “In these cases, the combined impact of the dry weather, lighter soils and little or no access to irrigation systems have all come into play.”
GB Potatoes: Newly launched trade body aims to ‘bring the industry together’ through all-sector representation
A brand-new industry body, GB Potatoes Ltd, was launched the past week. GB Potatoes says it plans to unite the UK potato industry and work with existing produce trade associations to represent the potato sector’s interests and future development in the wake of AHDB Potatoes discontinuation. Mark Taylor, Inaugural Chair of GB Potatoes said, “Our launch couldn’t come at a more important time for the GB Potato Industry. The Great British Potato needs to be championed!”
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.
After two dry years out of four, many farmers are seriously considering the future viability of a water hungry crop like potatoes, as John Sleigh reports for The Scottish Farmer. Since AHDB stopped reporting planted areas of potatoes it is difficult to get accurate data, however anecdotally it is clear farmers are reviewing the area they intend to plant to crop.
Potato acreage is down and yields are relatively low in Idaho. “Growers aren’t feeling very positive about their yields – they’re looking to be lower,” Ryan Wahlen of Pleasant Valley Potato told FreshPlaza’s Astrid Van Den Broek. Wahlen says there’s no doubt that the market on average this year will be higher than last year. “And potentially we could see the peak season pricing be higher than last year,” he says.
Farmers warned supermarkets will be selling shorter chips and smaller potatoes after a lack of rain this summer impacted crops. Tim Rooke, chair of the National Farmers Union’s potato forum, said the industry had struggled. He said the summer had been “very difficult” for the industry, with the yield for those who had not been able to irrigate their crops down between 25 percent and 40 percent.
It looks like being a tough season for potatoes across much of the world. The hot dry weather during the growing season in most production countries has had a severe effect on potatoes, as for many other crops, as FreshPlaza reports in an extensive overview of the potato market situation in many potato producing regions and countries around the world.
Potato yields in Britain are down significantly this season due to the hot, dry spring and early summer weather, and for growers putting spuds into cold storage there is the double whammy of higher electricity costs along with lower tuber numbers. The cost of electricity was about £21-22/t for long-term storage on the farm last year, says Mark Means in Norfolk. This season prices had reached £82/t.
According to IFA, growers in Ireland continue to prepare for harvest, while reports from growers remain consistent that yields are much lower than last year. In Belgium current yields seem to be between 15 and 25% below the long-term average. In France and the U.K., industry estimates put the reduction in yields at possibly 20%.