South Korea re-opens market for potatoes from Idaho, Washington and Oregon

South Korea Re-Opens Market for Table-Stock potatoes from Idaho, Washington and OregonOn Monday, the South Korean government announced the reopening of its market for table-stock potatoes from the Pacific Northwest states of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. The market had been closed since July 2012 over technical concerns. Since that time, the U.S. potato industry worked with USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the South Korean government to address the issues raised by Korea. According to John Keeling, CEO National Potato Council, “the National Potato Council (NPC) thanks USDA APHIS and their Korean counterparts for their dedication to resolving this issue.” Exports from the Pacific Northwest will need to follow the newly established guidelines agreed to between the two governments. Further details on the requirements will be provided to the industry in early January. The market for U.S. table-stock potatoes is controlled by an annually expanding quota, the 2018 level will be 3,583 metric tons. Continue reading


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

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

History of french fries: All about the origins of the world’s favourite potato fritters

History of French Fries: All About The Origins of the World's Favourite Potato FrittersThin, crisp and oh-so indulgent, there is nothing quite as addictive as French fries. The deep fried potato fritters have caught the fancy of foodies for centuries, across continents and have established themselves as the best sidekick to so many dishes. On its own too, French fries could be quite a snack to munch on. Several historians claim that what we enjoy today as French fries, may not be a French creation but a Belgian one. According to them, it was in Belgium where potatoes were being fried in the late-1600’s. Belgian villagers uses to slice their fish really thin, fry them and eat them as a snack. But in winter months when the river would freeze, it would get difficult for the villagers to fish. What started out as an alternative paved the way for the creation of our beloved French fries. More

Aviko to join direct-to-consumer movement

INS, the decentralized ecosystem for the grocery market, has announced that leading potato processing company, Aviko intends to be listed on the INS Ecosystem, joining the direct-to-consumer movement. Peter Fedchenkov, INS Founder explained that inequitable pricing, retailer influence and a lack of transparency are all major concerns for both manufacturers and consumers and the direct-to-consumer movement is on the agenda of FMCG companies everywhere. [Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) or consumer packaged goods (CPG) are products that are sold quickly and at relatively low cost.] “A direct marketplace powered by emerging technology brings us ever closer to not only addressing these concerns but solving inherent problems within the grocery sector. We are elated with the interest we have received to date from manufacturers worldwide who also wish to evolve their current processes, strengthening the obvious need for the direct-to-consumer movement. We are both delighted and eager to collaborate with Aviko,” added Fedchenkov.

US: Russet potato supplies are tight, boosting prices

While potato production nationwide in 2017 fell less than 1 percent, things were very different in the Pacific Northwest. Combined production in Idaho, Washington and Oregon this year fell 6.3 percent on 21,000 fewer planted acres, according to the December crop production report by USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. The decline is significant as the region produces 78 percent of all potatoes processed in the U.S. and 61 percent of fresh russets produced in the U.S. While there’s no hard data, Huffaker would guess russets make up about 85 percent of the PNW crop. Bruce Huffaker, a potato market analyst, says: “I think we’re coming up to a situation with russet potatoes where we’re going to run into crunch time on supply. PNW stocks on Dec. 1 are estimated to be down 9 percent year over year. Processing usage June through November was up slightly and fresh usage was down only 0.8 percent – meaning the crunch is ahead. We did not cut back on usage during the first six months; all that (shortfall) has to come in the next six months.” More

McCain UK opens its own specialty ‘Roastaurant’ in London

McCain is opening the doors to its own speciality restaurant, the Roastaurant, to celebrate the diversity of one of the nation’s favourite meals. The Roastaurant will provide roast dinner lovers the choice of over 100,000 possible roast combinations as guests choose from a pick ‘n’ mix style menu. Featuring a unique ‘gravy microbrewery’ and a giant six metre squared roast potato platter filled with thousands of McCain Roasts, the Roastaurant is set to bring the ultimate roast dinner experience to London. To accommodate all roast dinner habits, whether it’s pigeon with onion rings covered in chocolate gravy, or beef brisket accompanied with a fried egg and a side of charred pineapple, the McCain Roastaurant will be dishing up a whole host of exploratory roast combinations, no matter how quirky they may be. The Roastaurant will be split into two sittings, the Full Roast and the Roasts and Gravy. It will open its doors on Friday 8 and Sunday 10 December. Tickets can be bought online. More

Aldi’s rocketing potato sales in Wales highlights popularity of homegrown produce

Aldi’s potato sales rocket in WalesAldi’s potato sales in Wales have risen by a third since the retailer began sales of Welsh potatoes five months ago, highlighting the popularity of homegrown produce in the country. The discounter began stocking Welsh-grown potatoes in July 2017, thanks in part to a £4.8 million government support package adopted in 2015, which allowed producers to expand their production. This has helped generate a 33 per cent increase in Aldi’s potato sales, and the supermarket has ordered an additional 11,000 tonnes of Welsh potatoes, worth around £5 million, for the 2017/18 season. Puffin Produce supplies the supermarket with Maris Piper, baking and red potatoes, which are grown in Pembrokeshire and the Wye Valley. Says Huw Thomas, managing director of Puffin Produce: “It is amazing that Aldi is able to see an immediate uplift of 33 per cent within their potato category in Wales by providing a Welsh offering. “It really does show the fierce loyalty of the Welsh consumer to the large Welsh flag on the bag.” More

Potato growers make their own chips to fight the big boys

More and more often, potato growers are choosing not to take their products to large processors, because they do their own processing. Besides producing, more and more growers also process their own chips. They enter the processing industry increasingly often nowadays. One of the companies that chose to do things completely differently is Landlust Frites from Moerkapelle in the Netherlands. Derreck Bac is processing his own harvest of Agria and Frieslander into chips for the first time this year. He says it’s going well, although it’s not always easy. “There are many quality requirements. You have to bear in mind 100 things, and if you make just one mistake, quality isn’t what it should be. It’s a very precise business,” says the man running the company with his father and brother. The company Verse Boerderij Friet also makes fresh chips. The family company decided to start processing their own potatoes in 2014. One of the reasons Adriaan also started doing the processing is because he no longer wanted to be dependent on the large potato processing companies that he believes have too much power. More

US: Kettles’s chip bags track potatoes back to farm where they were grown

Chip Bags Track Potatoes Back To The Farm Where They Were GrownKettle Brand potato chip company has started placing Tater Tracker codes on its chip bags for customers to scan and learn about the farmers who supplied the crops for them. The code can be entered on Kettle’s website. When a customer enters the 10- to 14-digit code, they get to learn about one of the farmers who grew the ingredients for their specific bag of chips. The digital content comes with a brief biography about the farmers and an interactive 360 degree video tour of the farm. Kettle listed all of the farmers on its website for anyone to access. These farms include Allied Potato, Bula-Gieringer Farms, Burch Farms, Mortenson Bros. and others. Those interested in trying it out can purchase a bag of Kettle chips and find the code below the ‘best before’ stamp. Kettle Brand Tater Tracker (Source:

Demand for complete potato processing lines on the increase, expert says

According to Arjan Brouwer, general sales manager at processing equipment manufacturer Kiremko, the demand for complete potato processing lines has increased over the past few years and with an unprecedented amount of new lines installed including green-field projects. Worldwide, a lot of new potato processing lines are being built, not only by existing potato processors in Europe but also by new players in other parts of the world such as Argentina, China and Turkey. Brouwer says the demand for complete solutions for potato processing lines is growing is underlined by the increase in demand for potato products all over the world. Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands for example, have seen a noticeable growth regarding potato processing capacity. Also, outside Europe we see that China and South America are huge growth markets in terms of consumption of frozen potato products. “Unlike in the old days, designing and manufacturing processing equipment is rather more complex than welding some stainless steel together.” More

Global potato processors wring efficiency from eco-friendly upgrades

Image result for drip irrigation potatoesEuropean processors have worked to align themselves with the environmental goals passed by their home countries. Their innovative responses to those new rules have led, in some cases, to increased efficiency and greater productivity. One of those companies, Netherlands-based Lamb Weston/Meijer, wanted to know if using drip irrigation would be an economically feasible solution to water issues for some of their growers. Jolanda Soons-Dings, senior manager sustainability, said the company saw the biggest opportunity for drip irrigation in the United Kingdom where water scarcity and stricter legislation, such as water quotas set by local governments, make water a hot commodity. Company trials in the UK (2015) showed, on average, a 5–10 percent increase in yield using the same amount of water. The potatoes, noted Soons-Dings, were also of better, more consistent quality. More

UK: FSA prepares guide for acrylamide management

The UK Food Standard Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland are working with the British Hospitality Association and other key stakeholders to develop simple guidance which will help the catering and foodservice sectors comply with new rules regarding acrylamide. Food businesses, including potato processors in the UK will be required to put in place practical steps to manage acrylamide within their food safety management systems, under new EU legislation, which will apply from April 2018. The legislation describes practical measures based upon best practice guidance developed by the food industry to mitigate acrylamide formation in a range of foods. Guidelines to aid understanding of the enforcement of the legislation will also be available in the New Year. More

US: Potato marketers see lower volumes, firm pricing

Tough growing conditions in some regions — and a wide range of temperatures during harvest — led to a U.S. potato crop that marketers describe as about average.Tough growing conditions in some regions — and a wide range of temperatures during harvest — led to a U.S. potato crop that marketers describe as about average. “This year we faced a few obstacles, with frequent springtime rains and higher-than-normal fall temperatures,” said Tim Huffcutt, marketing director with the Bancroft, Wis.-based Russet Potato Exchange Inc. “It affected the overall potato crop portfolio, but we are grateful to be experiencing average yields per acre.” Quality is high, Huffcutt said. “In fact, new crop red potatoes have been some of the best we have seen.” In Friesland, Wis., Alsum Farms & Produce finished its harvest later than normal on Oct. 26 because of unseasonably warm temperatures that reached into the 90s. “Overall, the size profile is larger in size (than) previous years,” said Christine Lindner, national sales and marketing manager with Alsum Farms. More