As a grocery cart staple, fresh produce and its bounty of categories has been one guarantee during the tumultuous past couple of months. In fact, when Kayla Webb of AndNowUKnow checked in on the potato market with Bushwick Potato Commission, Ken Gray confirmed that, if anything, the pandemic has highlighted the value and versatility of fresh potatoes for families in the United States.
On June 18 a crop consultant in Alberta told Eugenia Banks, Ontario potato specialist, that spore traps in the province had caught late blight spores. Ontario is going through a wave of hot and dry weather, and out west in Alberta, it’s the opposite with cooler, wet weather. In response to the discovery, of late blight in 2014, the Potato Growers of Alberta (PGA) supported a spore-trapping project. In Ontario, Eugenia Banks lead a two-year Ontario Potato Board project evaluating one type of spore trapping technology in order to help growers improve late blight management with good results.
With consumer demand rising for environmentally responsible and sustainable products, Ontario based EarthFresh announced today that the company has updated their packaging with new biobased material. These new mesh packs are all USDA Certified Biobased Products made with CLAF® Biobased Fabric™. The mesh bags are made with renewable raw materials derived from sugarcane. These packages are 96% bio-based and 100% recyclable.
GRIMME product specialist lead to present on global mechanization trends during upcoming WPC webinar
World Potato Congress Inc.’s webinar this Thursday June 25 will feature Mr. Burkhard Kuhlmann of GRIMME, who will be presenting on “Mechanisation Levels for the Global Potato Industry”.Burkhard Kuhlmann is the Team Leader, Product Specialist Potato Equipment worldwide with GRIMME Landmaschinenfabrik. He has visited potato farmers worldwide including Africa, China, India, Russia and all over Europe. During the web inare he will refer to comparitive mechanisation levels in the potato industry from around the world
Latest Canadian Crop Report: Good potential, but hard work needed to clean up old crop later than normal
The Crop Transition Conference has been held for the past 12 years in Minneapolis. This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was held virtually, says Kevin MacIsaac, General Manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC). In conclusion it is said that “The crop has good potential, but we are going to need to work hard, to clean up the old crop at a later than normal date, as the new crop transitions in on schedule.”
Potato growers in Alberta province in Canada have a boatload of potatoes in storage. As of June 1, stocks of processing potatoes in Alberta were 5.37 million hundredweight, which is 37.2 percent higher than the three year average for stockpiles in early June, reports Robert Arnason for The Western Producer. Processing acres in the province could be 10,000 fewer than in 2019.
SpudLove Snacks’ new potato chip line will be made from organic potatoes grown at Threemile Canyon Farms in Boardman, Ore., Hermiston Herald reports. The line of chips are 100% “USDA-certified organic, Non-GMO Project Verified and certified Gluten-Free,” according to a news release.
According to a Reuters report, German demand for potatoes and potato products has collapsed during the coronavirus crisis, meaning the vegetable is being used as animal feed or for making biogas instead, an industry body said on Tuesday. “Several hundred thousand tonnes of processing potatoes could not be used,” BOGK chief executive Horst-Peter Karos said.
Viewpoint: 70% of consumers say ‘natural’ food is healthier, but there’s no science behind the marketing hype
When you hear the word “natural,” what thoughts or images come to mind? If you think of flowers, puppies, fresh baked bread, or other wholesome ideas, you’re not alone, writes Jack Bobo on the Gernetic Literacy Project. Products that were once only found in “health food stores” or specialty stores like Sprouts Farmers Market, Whole Foods, or Natural Grocers are now available in traditional grocery and convenience stores.
Hyperspectral imaging, a growing area in remote sensing, holds the promise of providing a solution for crop monitoring over large areas, and scientists at the James Hutton Institute are working with partners in industry and academia to investigate the potential of the technology to maximise the sustainability and productivity of key food crops. The InnovateUK-funded project “In-field Optical Detection of Potato Disease” primarily explored the utility of aerial imaging (drone captured multispectral and high-res RGB) to detect and differentiate between a selection of economically important potato diseases.
In a matter of weeks, COVID-19 upturned lives and livelihoods in Australia, New Zealand and around the world. One of the responses we’ve seen as people have adjusted and then readjusted to a new normal is a change in consumer behaviours.
Total Canadian potato storage holdings 12.5% above 3 year average; some chipping potatoes may need to be imported
Kevin MacIsaac, General manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada, reported earlier today that the current Canadian potato storage holdings figures were released by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada on June 1. According to Kevin, “good demand for table potatoes has lowered fresh supplies 15% below the 3-yr. average. Processing stocks are up 14.4%. Seed growers are also in a difficult spot with seed left.”
After months of struggles due to the shutdown of the food service industry during the coronavirus pandemic, the Aroostook County potato industry in Maine is seeing increased sales as states begin to reopen their economies. Rather than going unsold, many more potatoes from the 2019 crop will end up on plates and trays across the country as restaurant-ready items such as french fries and mashed potatoes. Still, many of the traditional venues for Maine potatoes remain closed off.
Dear Potato News Today readers: The following heartfelt and deeply moving and very human story, written by Jeboah Miranda, is not in itself directly related to the global potato industry at all, but it is still for sure related to the harsh reality of the times we all live in today – amidst the chaos caused by thecurrent global pandemic brought about by the COVID-19. virus Somewhat what the author of the the “age-old” pop song tries to communicate, when saying: “How small we are, how little we know… ]
Potatoes New Zealand (PNZ) has met with Minister Faafoi to discuss investigating the potential importation of heavily discounted frozen potato chips into New Zealand. With MBIE’s support, Potatoes NZ is undertaking an investigation to gather evidence of the potential import threat. PNZ want to discourage the Europeans from attempting surplus import.
UPGC: Difficult two months with unexpected oversupply of processing potatoes as fry sales decrease during pandemic
According to the latest market report issued by the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC), many Canadian potato growers have been dealing with a difficult two months with an unexpected oversupply of processing potatoes as a result of decreased sales of French fries, as sit-down restaurants shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The release of the end-March stocks estimate did enable the UK domestic market to encapsulate the partial impact that the coronavirus is having on the potato industry. However, it does not allow us to paint the whole picture as we finish this marketing year and head into next season. Anthony Speight, Analyst at AHDB, wrote the following report that we gladly re-publish here.
Dear PNT readers, find below a selection of potato related quotes we picked from news items published on Potato News Today the past couple of weeks. We believe these to be worth taking note of, and remembering…
In an exclusive interview with Dan Orehov, Edtor of Potato Business, Secretary General of Belgapom, Romain Cools, talked about the current situation of potato consumption and trade in Belgium, on the background of the pandemic. Orehov and Cools also discussed the future of the Belgian potato, from farm to fork and the impact that foodservice industry closure has had so far on the overall potato business.
According to a report by Anthony Speight, Analyst at AHDB, the month of May has been relatively static across the industry in general. The initial lockdown caused a divergence in demand between the retail and food service sector. Speight writes in his report: “We have since seen their respective demand stabilise momentarily and we are at a juxtaposition that relies on further uplifting of lockdown restrictions for demand to increase.”Throughout May we had increased reports of chip shops reopening. Outlets that featured on take out apps, mostly in built up urban areas have reported to have a successful customer base.
Jordan Okumura of AndNowUKnow reports that “the awesome potato has been a hotter category than usual as of late, with demand spiking through the spring months. As we get our foothold in June, the potato market is finding some stability for Eagle Eye Produce, though the consumer’s passion for the produce item is staying strong.”
With the Farmers to Families Food Box Program underway across the country, companies are busy packing and sending fresh produce to food banks. Chris Koger of The Packer provides a round-up of recent COVID-19-related news. As far as potatoes are concerned, Koger writes that Potatoes USA is connecting with industry members through a new video series, Keeping It Current, to explain what the organization has been doing during the pandemic.
One country that has routinely been in the news for their impressive handling of the outbreak is South Korea. In Canada, the closure of the hospitality sector in light of the coronavirus caused a significant threat to potato growers. The potato growers in the USA too have faced significant challenges with accessing markets and oversupply. This issue of excess potatoes is impacting supply chains across Europe too. Belgium is famous the world over for its fries and UNESCO list them as a Cultural Treasure. Given the closure of restaurants, including the ubiquitous fish n’ chip shops of most high streets, potato growers across the UK are struggling to sell their crop.
Signs are showing that frozen fry demand is improving quicker than the industry had anticipated, according to a May 27 report by North American Potato Market News. Restaurant chain sales in the U.S. improved five consecutive weeks from early April to mid-May, although were still down 21%, year-over-year in the week ending May 17.
Consumers have been urged to seek out British potatoes on supermarket shelves to help East Anglia’s growers shift the huge surplus generated by the loss of lockdown demand from chip shops and restaurants. The coronavirus pandemic left thousands of tonnes of potatoes stranded in stores as the food service sector closed down. Some have been redirected to retailers, others have been sold directly from farm shops and delivery schemes, or sold off as animal feed.