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Potato packing solution for less waste and better potato traceability
Potato packing by farmsoft for less waste and better potato traceability in potato packing & processing space.
Manage the entire potato packing process from delivery, processing (sizing, sorting, french fries manufacture, grading) thru to to sales, dispatch, and traceability & recall.
Market Report Austria, KW 13:
'Breather for potato packing companies, increasing onion exports'
The situation on the Austrian market for table potatoes has settled again after the extremely turbulent past weeks. Many households are now well stocked with food. Sales in the food retail trade have declined accordingly in recent days. In any case, the catering and wholesale trade has been almost at a standstill since the beginning of last week. Exports are also still not an issue. Uncertainty in view of the recent sales slackness does not arise however in the industry. Inventories are now quite manageable and should be sufficient for domestic supplies until the start of the early potato season. Farmers are also still willing to sell.
There is no change in prices compared to the previous week. In Lower Austria at the beginning of the week a price range of 22 to 28 Euro/100 kg depending on variety and quality was mentioned, whereby 25 Euro/100 kg are usually paid for wireworm-free, small packable premium goods with AMA quality seal. Prices of up to 32 Euro/100 kg were reported from Upper Austria. However, only very manageable quantities are available here.
Rising export numbers
The Austrian onion market is still characterised by strong demand. Sales in the domestic food retail trade have calmed down again after the numerous stockpiling purchases by consumers in recent weeks. Recently there has been increasing interest in exports, especially from South-Eastern Europe. Export prices have risen accordingly. There are no price changes on the domestic market for the time being. For onions, cleaned and sorted in the box, prices between 24 and 28 Euro/100 kg were recently paid. For qualitatively weaker or smaller batches, the price level is lower.
Sales in the food retail sector are normalising
The Lower Austrian carrot market continues to be in good shape. Sales in the domestic food retail sector have recently returned to normal. Exports are reporting increasing interest in Austrian goods. There is no change in price for the time being.
NC sweet potato grower successfully installs new packing line
Southern Produce Distributors, Inc. a grower, packer and shipper of sweet potatoes, has installed a new packing line in their warehouse facility located in Faison, NC.
The new packing line, a Hagan 2, runs simultaneously with Southern Produce’s original packing line, doubling efficiency and minimizing operational costs. The Hagan 2 runs five lanes with a computerized “photohead” sizer that measures the dimensions of the sweet potatoes to ensure consistent shape and weight.
“The Hagan optical heads are ideal for the way we pack our produce,” stated Heath Johnsey, Operations Manager for Southern Produce, “It allows Southern Produce to fit any packing size that’s required by any customer. With the Hagan 2, we can sort from the smallest to the largest sweet potato that may fit customers’ needs.”
Furthermore, it has a state-of-the-art box scale system, which allows for precise weight determination and real-time adjustability.
Since becoming fully operational on January 1, 2018, the new packing line has been tested to its full capacity and to its lowest capacity with minimum to no issues.
“We continuously strive to initiate innovative ways to be more competitive and offer exceptional product to our customers, stated Kelley Precythe, President and owner of Southern Produce, “The addition of a packing line enables us to do just that.”
For more information:
Brooke Britt Crumpler
Southern Produce Distributors, Inc.
+1 (910) 267-0011
Potato packing company receives ACOA support
W.P. Griffin, a potato packer in Elmsdale, Canada has receieved ACOA support for the installation of ventilation equipment designed to extend storage time while preserving the quality of the produce.
The Atlantic Provinces Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is providing West Prince potato packer with a $103,612 repayable contribution to help with equipment upgrades. ACOA claims the equipment will extend the packing season and create opportunities for more year-round employment in the industry.
Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA, suggested the investment is an example of government putting in place the right conditions for growth. He believes the funding should help the industry grow and benefit the community with the creation of more jobs that were once only seasonal.
Kenya: German firm to set up seven potato packing plants
The potato sector in Nyandarua county has received a major boost after an international German firm has committed to set up seven potato pack houses. The officials of BASF, a leading chemical company, visited Nyandarua governor Francis Kimemia, where they pledged to support the project estimated to cost over Sh500 million (€4.4 mln).
The county and the company are set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding in April of this year. BASF Vice President for Africa, Michael Gotsche, expects the construction work to commence in October: “Through BASF’s Performance Material Solutions, Nyandarua farmers will be able to store their produce under hygienic and optimum storage conditions in packhouse facilities currently being developed.”
He noted that a technical committee whose activities would be coordinated by Kenya Investment Authority had been formed to see to it that the project run smoothly.
UK veg firm plans potato packing operation move
A leading UK vegetable supplier, QV Foods, says it has entered a period of consultation with about 140 staff at March, Cambridgeshire, as it prepares to move the operation to Holbeach.
The firm says if the move goes ahead it will create 125 new roles at Holbeach.
A spokeswoman for the £140 million a year turnover company refused to say how many staff currently work at the Holbeach site.
The company stresses that it hopes to minimise redundancies by finding suitable roles for as many of its affected March employees as possible.
“The proposal would help the company address its cost base and capacity needs for current business volumes whilst creating headroom for future growth.”
“The owners of QV Foods are fully committed to growing the business for the future, but the company has to have an efficient cost platform on which to do this.”
“The proposal to consolidate the potato business at the Holbeach site, which sits at the centre of our farming and packing operations, is a logical step to achieving this.”
Source: Peterborough Today/ potatopro.com
Would Polish potato shortfall benefit UK packing market?
A strong demand for fresh packing supplies from Eastern Europe helped provide support to the packing market in the latter half of the 2018/19 season. The competitive pricing of Scottish potatoes last season (2018/19) meant that UK exporters were able to out-compete traditional suppliers to the region. In July-May, UK fresh exports to Poland (14.8Kt) have doubled from average and those to the Czech Republic (5.6Kt) have tripled.
In a typical year, Polish import activity gets into full swing from March onwards, with the majority of potatoes sourced from Germany (c.30%) and France (c.10%). Last season the continental tightness allowed the UK to seize a bigger piece of the pie, making up 20% of total Polish imports so far (July-April).
This year, as a result of the ongoing hot temperatures and drought, production in Poland and the Czech Republic is likely to fall significantly below average again this season. Over 90% of the Czech Republic remains in drought with 23% of the country classified as being in extreme drought, which will have a detrimental effect on yields. Poland also looks to have severe shortfalls in production this season with current estimates of c.6.5Mt (see figure 1), a 1Mt drop from last season and 18% below the five year average.
Germany, Poland’s main supplier of fresh potatoes, has suffered over the past few months due to the heat and lack of rain. The recent rainfall and lower temperatures appear to have done little to help out German growers and the potato crop. Soil moisture levels in Germany remain low and much of lower Saxony, a key growing region, is in severe to extreme drought. This means that Germany is likely to have reduced export potential.
“It's a good time for potatoes”
Last year’s heat wave had disastrous effects on potato harvests throughout Europe, resulting in extremely low yields. With this year’s harvest just around the corner in Sweden, though, the predicted yields are looking good. Anders Eriksson from Swedish potato packing company L.E.V. says: “This year we had a good summer with a nice mix between rain and sunshine. It is still a little early to say for sure, but so far the crop looks good.”
The company works with 20 growers all around Sweden who are mostly located between Stockholm and Göteberg. Anders explains: “Most of our growers are in the same area as our company, but we also have some that are in regions further away. This helps minimize risk for us and allows us to work with growers that have specialized in certain varieties.” The company works with locally grown potatoes for most of the year, but in the summer months from June through August they import: “We begin in Malta and Cyprus in June and then we move northward as the summer progresses and import from France, Germany, Denmark. Then, at this time of the year we are back to using the Swedish crop,” says Anders.
The company works closely with Swedish retailer ICA, being the retailer’s main potato supplier. Through ICA’s collaboration with the Baltic retailer Rimi, L.E.V. has also begun supplying its potatoes to the Baltic region. Anders says “The main volumes being sold in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania are unwashed and packed in bags of 25kg. So we provide them with more specialized varieties, like small salad varieties and bags of 900 grams.”
The company certainly does not have a shortage of varieties. Just like many European countries, the main distinction made between varieties depends on the purpose for which it is used: firm potatoes for boiling, baking or roasting, and softer, more mealy potatoes that are used for mashing. Nowadays, however, consumers are more aware of the specific varieties being offered and have become interested in the different types. Anders states: “Historically, Swedish consumers have preferred potatoes for mashing, but in the past decade we have seen this change. Today, generally consumers want potatoes that work for everything: mashing, but also boiling, baking, or roasting; they want an all-around potato. The salad variety is also really popular with consumers. These are smaller potatoes that can easily be roasted in the oven. For us, the most popular varieties are the Melody, as an all-around potato, and the Amandine for the salad variety.”
The company is introducing a new variety this fall: La Vie. This variety comes from HZPC and was spotted by L.E.V. two years ago. The company tries to regularly introduce new varieties, and after testing over twenty different kinds they decided that La Vie was good addition to their selection. Anders adds: “There are so many varieties on the market currently that if we want to introduce something new we have to retire an existing variety. This means that if we decide to introduce something new it has to be just as good or better than what we already have. La Vie fits that requirement and our first full harvest of this variety will begin soon.”
According to Anders, it is a good time to be in the potato business. “In the past, the popularity of potatoes has gone up and down, but today potatoes are trending. Chefs on television have started mentioning actual variety names, instead of potato type and this has made the consumer more interested in the selection of varieties as well. The potato is even the main ingredient that will be used in the finale of Chef of the Year in Sweden. Usually they choose an ingredient that is really unique or specific, so it is quite special that they have chosen potatoes this year, and this shows the current popularity of the product,” he concludes.