China’s potato production to rebound; demand for french fries and chips stronger

As the largest potato producer in the world, China’s 2017/18 fresh potato production is forecast at 97 million metric tons (MMT), due to an expansion of potato area. During the 2016/17 season, production was forecast to increase 3 percent to 100 MMT, but actually dropped 5 percent to an estimated 92 MMT. This decrease was due to continuing drought in the North and large-scale late blight occurrences in the Southwest.  Processing potatoes account for about 15 to 20 percent of total production, and include such products as starch, dehydrated potatoes, chips, and frozen french fries. China’s Frozen French Fries (FFF) production is forecast at 250,000 MT, a 10 percent increase from 230,000 MT in 2016/17, driven by strong domestic demand. Post forecasts China’s 2017/18 FFF imports at 120,000 MT, about a 5 percent decrease from 126,620 MT in 2016/17, due to increased domestic production. The United States continues to dominate China’s FFF import market. China’s potato chip production also continues to grow in response to strong market demand. More

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US: Cape Cod Potato Chip’s parent company sold in billion-dollar deal

Campbell Soup Co. announced on Monday it will buy Snyder’s-Lance Inc., the Charlotte-based parent company of Cape Cod Potato Chips, in an all-cash deal valued at $4.87 billion. The well-known Hyannis-based brand got its start in 1980, when the founders set up a small shop in a storefront in the Cape town. Lance Inc. acquired Cape Cod Potato Chips in 1999. Terms of the deal were not disclosed at the time, although at the time of the acquisition sales at Cape Cod were about $30 million. Lance merged with Pennsylvania-based Snyder’s of Hanover in 2010. Snyder’s-Lance, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, makes pretzels, chips. It’s most well-known brands include Snyder’s of Hanover, Kettle Brand and Pop Secret, in addition to Cape Cod Potato Chips. It will join the Campbell’s division that makes Pepperidge Farm and Goldfish crackers. There was no immediate word on whether the new owners would keep the chip-maker’s base of operations on Cape Cod. More

Researchers deliver first-ever food potato genomes

Image result for Israel's NRGene maps genome for three types of potatoesNRGene, an Israeli company specializing in genomic assembly and analysis, is working with a team of researchers from Wageningen University & Research (WUR) in the Netherlands and leading commercial partners to create multi-genome mapping of commercial food potatoes. The potato genome is complex, NRGene said. It’s an auto-tetraploid, which means that each potato cell contains four nearly identical copies of each chromosome and gene, making the assembly and phasing of the four copies extremely difficult for traditional technologies. NRGene has completed the phased assembly of three commercial potato varieties. Crop researchers use genomics analyses to get a complete picture of what needs to be done to increase yields, reduce resource requirements and address food scarcity, NRGene Chief Executive Gil Ronen said. “NRGene’s genomes and pan-genome analysis will allow us to map traits on the level of haplotypes, which was previously almost impossible,” says Dr. Finkers of WUR. More

UK: NFU calls for better communication in potato sector

NFU calls for better communication in potato sectorPotato packers and processors can drive the sector forward by communicating better with growers about how they can improve their crop, according to a new report by the NFU. Following a series of meetings with the industry, the study highlights producers’ desire for clearer information to allow them, and the whole industry, to become more competitive and productive. Earlier this year, the NFU highlighted the need for greater transparency in the potato industry, after growers reported significant payment deductions with little or no explanation. NFU potato forum chairman Alex Godfrey said: “In order for all parts of the industry to become more efficient, competitive and profitable, growers need to know where they can improve their crop. But Godfrey stressed there was “work for growers too”, saying most packers and processors “would like to see growers visit their facilities more often”. More

Indian delegation to participate in 10th World Potato Congress

The 10th World Potato Congress (WPC) and the 28th Latin American Potato Association (ALAP) Congress will come together in the historic city of Cusco in Peru, from 27th -31st May 2018. This event will showcase the Andean origins of the most beloved vegetable of all – the potato, and will bring together industry players from across the globe to discuss the issues related to it. The World Potato Congress Inc. is dedicated to supporting the global growth and development of the potato and the guiding principle of this conference is “Biodiversity, Food Security and Business.” The importance of this event globally means that Indian authorities are looking to partake in the Congress. Today, India ranks as the world’s third largest potato producing nation, with production in 2017 of around 47 million tonnes, according to the National Horticulture Board. The ‘aloo’ is not primarily a rural staple but a cash crop that provides significant income for farmers: as per the state data, the production in Uttar Pradesh alone is totalled to be approximately 15 million tonnes this year. More

Idaho Russet potato market edges tighter

The Russet potato market in Idaho is edging tighter as supplies become stretched. Yields are moderately down in the region, with the State of Idaho issuing a report that indicates Russet numbers are down across the state by between 5%-8%. Suppliers say that reduced acreage is contributing to the shortfall. “It’s a very active market on Idaho Russet potatoes,” said Colin Gibson, of 20/20 Produce Sales in Idaho. “Yields are down in the order of 5%-8% in conjunction with planted acreage which is down by about the same. The smaller yield and less planted acres has contributed to a tight market on the Idaho Russets.” The Russet shortage doesn’t appear to be easing, with no clear end in sight. It looks likely to continue well into the New Year and possibly up until the next harvest begins next Summer. Idaho potato growers are not immune to the trucking challenges that have affected many regions across the country this year. As a result of the shortage of truck availability, growers have been forced to stem production. More

NL: Kiremko introduced its own sustainability label

Corporate Social Responsibility has been elevated to a higher level by Kiremko with the introduction of its own sustainability label. Kiremko’s Fair Future label stands for consciously dealing with the environment, and not doing things because you have to, but because it’s the right thing to do. The company from Montfoort, the Netherlands, designs, produces and installs machines and complete production lines for making chips, crisps and various other potato products. According to Paul Oosterlaken, Kiremko’s manager, Fair Future is best described as consciously dealing with the environment. Doing things because it’s the right choice, not because you have to. “By working consciously and sensibly, we save the environment and that’s good for the planet, for people and for potatoes.” He mentions more and more clients ask them to develop and produce lines that take the environment into consideration. More

US: Washington State Potato Commission bringing excitement to the industry

IMG 4365There are three primary roles the Washington State Potato Commission plays in assisting its potato growers, but according to Chris Voigt, executive director of the Moses Lake, WA-based organization, coordinating and funding potato research is the most important work it does. “We dedicate over $1 million dollars to potato research and our investment has made us the state with the highest yields and a consistent high quality,” he said. “Another important role is our promotional work with our international and domestic customers. We also invest heavily in telling the ag story to the public through our Washington Grown program. And the third role we play is being the voice for our potato community with state and federal agencies and legislators.” Brandy Tucker, marketing manager for the organization, said it recently ran a competition in the Seattle area called Spud Masters, where for a week, folks had a chance to nominate their favorite potato dish at their favorite restaurant. The campaign reached more than 33,000 people on social media. More

Italy: New potato variety is rich in vitamins A and E

La patata d'oro ricchissima di vitamina A ed E (fonte: Mark Failla) © AnsaPatata d’oro” is finally here: the red skinned potato has a bright yellow flesh colour thanks to 3 bacterial genes, as well as a high vitamin A and E content that remains unaltered during cooking, as proven by tests carried out on a simulator of the human digestive system. As described in ‘Plos One’ magazine, it could be very good against diseases caused by the lack of these vitamins, especially in poorer countries. The research lasted ten years and was conducted in the Enea alla Casaccia laboratories near Rome under the supervision of the Ministry for Agricultural Policy and European Commission and with the collaboration of the Bologna Consiglio per le ricerche agricole ed economiche (CREA) and Ohio University. According to the researchers, “the genes of the Erwinia herbicola bacteria were inserted into its dna, which led to an increase in vitamin A and E levels. It was a pleasant surprise, as we had only done so to increase beta-carotene levels.” More. Report in Italian language

Potato blight’s chemical attack mechanism explained

Image result for potato blightA team of international researchers headed by scientists from the University of Tübingen has deciphered the workings of a cytolytic toxin, which is produced by some of the world’s most devastating crop diseases. The Cytolysin is manufactured by pathogens such as bacteria and fungi and can wipe out entire harvests if chemical protection is not used. The study may lead to ways of better protecting crops from such pathogens in the future. Another prospect arising from the study is the development of new kinds of biological plant-protective chemicals. Potato blight is caused by an oomycete called Phytophthora infestans. “This pathogenic organism produces Cytolysin, a veritable killer toxin,” says Dr. Isabell Albert of Tübingen’s Center for Plant Molecular Biology. The organism’s goal is to kill the plant cells so that it can feed on the dead tissue.” To this end, the Cytolysin perforates the plant cell membrane, damaging it beyond repair. The affected cells die. The researchers have now shown that sensitivity to the Cytolysin is dependent on a receptor in the plant cell which is significantly different in different types of plants. More

British potato company set to increase pack-out by 73% before Christmas Day

DEMAND for potatoes in the build up to Christmas will send an Ilminster factory into overdrive this festive season.Demand for potatoes in the build up to Christmas will send a British potato factory into overdrive this festive season. More than 2,000 tonnes of potatoes will be packed and distributed at Branston’s factory in the week leading up to Christmas Day – an increase of 73 per cent on the average week at the site. As demand soars for one of the nation’s favourite components to Christmas dinner, more than 16.2 million packs of potatoes will be sold by retailers nationwide during the week leading up to December 25. Jonathan Taylor, general manager at Branston’s Ilminster site in Somerset, said: “Christmas dinner just wouldn’t be the same without the roasties and we are in the midst of our very own ‘12 days of Christmas’ countdown. In the lead up to the festive season, potato packing jumps from 170 tonnes a day to over 550 tonnes on the peak days in the week before Christmas and our production facility runs around the clock to meet demand.” More

Researchers trace the potato’s origins, learn about its untapped potential

IMAGEThe comfort food we know and love today as the potato was domesticated between 8,000 and 10,000 years ago from a wild species native to the Andes Mountains in southern Peru. During the 16th century, Spanish conquistadors are believed to have transported the rugged root-like vegetable across the Atlantic. Now, a team of researchers has charted this lineage in order to learn how the potato was domesticated and how its DNA evolved over time. Richard Veilleux, head of the Department of Horticulture in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and his graduate student, Parker Laimbeer, partnered with colleagues at Michigan State University to conduct a plant genome project. “The results increase our understanding of how the potato was domesticated and what genes are important. We also identified potential genes to improve on in the future and showed how high throughput genome sequencing provides new tools,” Veilleux said. More

Sweden: Scientists are making smoothies with potato milk

Plant-based products are growing in popularity. You can enjoy steaks or cheese made of soya beans. But milk alternatives on the shelves might be made of soya, almonds, coconuts, rice, cashews or oats. If that isn’t enough, make way for potato milk. Vegans do not eat anything animal; no meat or fish, no milk, cheese, eggs or even honey. Everything has to come from plants. This can be difficult, as animal products or by-products dominate the market. This is one of the reasons why the Swedish food researcher Eva Tornberg wanted to create potato milk. The plan is to produce and sell the product as an alternative to milk, yoghurt, cream and ice cream. The milk has been tested in the laboratory and in a factory and the hope is it will be commercially available next year. The first product is likely to be a smoothie made of potato milk with apple juice and fruit. More

Denmark: KMC released potato starch-based cheese

Image result for KMC has released a potato starch-based cheeseKMC, a Danish based producer of starch and other potato based ingredients, announced that it has released a potato starch-based vegan-friendly cheese called Cheesemaker CF 30, which offers a very “cheese-like sensation,” despite the fact that there is no milk protein inside it. Darren Wood spoke to KMC’s Hugo Neilsen, CCO business development & Americas, and Neilsen told him about the functionality, texture and taste of the cheese, as well as his views on plant-based protein trends. Watch video

Australia: Tomato potato psyllid results in soon

Results from a spring surveillance program of the tomato potato psyllid insect pest will soon be available as part of the TPP management plan. The results have the potential to improve market access for West Australian growers if no damaging plant bacteria is detected, a Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development statement said. “Trapping is allowing us to test these insects to see if they carry the damaging plant bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum,” department senior research officer Ian Wilkinson said. The statement said if no bacteria was detected when testing was finalised later this month, it could be used in negotiations to improve market access for WA growers across other Australian states and territories. (Source: The West Australian)