Authentic look

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‘This product line with accompanying shelves is an example of what we want to introduce under our own name’, Koen van Harteveld explains.

Product marketing, new varieties, sustainable packaging and innovative techniques were the focus of attention at this year’s international Fruit Logistica trade fair in Berlin. During the fair, Team PotatoWorld talked with participating companies about their view on trends in the (packaging) market, sustainability and varieties.

Koen van Harteveld has just started his second working day as Commercial Director of Nedato at Fruit Logistica. He enthusiastically shows a new packaging line on a new shelf. ‘With this shelf, we want to give the potato an authentic look with a modern touch’, the brand-new commercial director explains. ‘The source of inspiration for the new packaging line is the hand-painted advertising posters that are traditionally found on the market. We gave the potato packaging new names that capture the imagination. For example, we have the Allrounders, which you can cook, bake, mash and fry. The Creamy Fellows, which are floury potatoes and the Tough Ones, which are the waxy types. Finally, we also have the Rainbow Potatoes, with a different skin and flesh colour in one bag or tray’, he explains. This introduction is in line with the company’s new strategy that focuses on paying more attention to customers and growth at home and abroad. An important objective of attending Fruit Logistica is even more focus on sales and finding new customers in export and retail, but also in the food service sector. In support of this new direction, we invested last year in a new packaging line for small packaging and this year we’ll be investing substantially in the large packaging department, in order to meet the increasing demand for exports. Van Harteveld told us that, during his career, he has worked for food companies such as Rotie, McCain and Red Bull. ‘At Nedato, we’re in the middle of a transition in which growth in all segments is a priority. We want to develop our own brands. This product line with accompanying shelves is an example of what we want to introduce under our own name’, he explains.

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Offering all year round

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André Adamse of Schaap Holland combines fresh and convenience in a new steam packaging.

Product marketing, new varieties, sustainable packaging and innovative techniques were the focus of attention at this year’s international Fruit Logistica trade fair in Berlin. During the fair, Team PotatoWorld talked with participating companies about their view on trends in the (packaging) market, sustainability and varieties.

At Schaap Holland of Biddinghuizen, in addition to fresh and chilled products, they also have a wide range of their own varieties from which they grow and sell the seed themselves. In the Schaap stand, André Adamse, Director of Retail & Food Service, shows us their Gerona variety. ‘This tasty variety produces up to 35 tubers per plant and is suitable as a fresh and a chilled product’, says Adamse enthusiastically. ‘With a group of growers from home and abroad, we can offer this variety to our customers all year round. This means that we can continue to offer fresh potatoes of this variety even after CIPC’, he explains. This year, Schaap Holland will be introducing a new steam packaging, in which potatoes are cooked in 7 minutes. ‘We combine fresh and convenience here. Partly as a result of the introduction of new products such as these and the expansion of our customer base, our sales increased by 5 percent in total in 2019’, Adamse reveals. ‘We supply the total potato package for a company like the Boon group, which means we take the strain off the customer completely’, explains the Director.

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 on Fruit Logistica, click he
re.   

  

Hybrid product range

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‘Between the unprocessed potatoes and the ready product is another new market’, say Peter Quik and Gerrit Oomen.

Product marketing, new varieties, sustainable packaging and innovative techniques were the focus of attention at this year’s international Fruit Logistica trade fair in Berlin. During the fair, Team PotatoWorld talked with participating companies about their view on trends in the (packaging) market, sustainability and varieties.

At Quiks, which is based in Hedel, Peter Quik announces that he sees a trend towards a hybrid product range. ‘This means that, as a supplier, you can deliver both cool-fresh and fresh to customers’, says Quik. ‘Years ago, with all our experience with potatoes, we also started with cool-fresh. We no longer see it as a separate commodity. We’ve noticed that there’s another new market between unprocessed potatoes and the ready product. That’s what we want to develop new products for. We’ve observed that consumers aren’t looking at whether it’s fresh or cool-fresh, but how the potato fits into the desired recipe. That’s what they’ve become used to with the fresh produce packages that are being marketed. It’s important that it’s easy to prepare. That’s why we offer fresh potatoes in a special microwave packaging, for example, but also Air-fryer chips in the refrigerated section’, explain Peter Quik and Gerrit Oomen.  

To read PotatoWorld magazine’s full article
 on Fruit Logistica, click here.   

Robert Graveland, HZPC, Joure: ‘We want to increase the return and lower the risk.’

Robert Graveland

‘Our focus is mainly on increasing the return of the seed potato grower and reducing the risks in seed potato cultivation, and therefore also the risks for ware cultivation. This means that the use of modern technology in breeding is becoming increasingly important, but we’ll continue to carry out the trialling together with our affiliated breeders. They also have easy access to numbers that contain the resistances we’ve identified in our laboratories with molecular markers. The use of markers makes our breeding work smarter, so that we can increase the speed in the selection. This is necessary to make the chain more sustainable. That’s still quite a challenge, because the approval of many crop protection chemicals is currently under pressure. We have to fit in with the wishes of society that are translated by the politicians. Unfortunately, the politicians hardly give the sector time to adjust. Decisions are taken almost overnight instead of introducing measures over a number of years. Consequently, we have to score hard in terms of residue and air, soil and water emissions. We have to change more and more in the genetics, because crop management no longer offers solutions. This means that the resilience of the varieties, but also of the total cultivation, must be increased. We’ve been doing that for years. Young varieties that are about to be introduced, and have been registered by the product managers meet qualities such as virus and fusarium resistance at a manageable level. However, controlling insects with crop protection chemicals remains a difficult story. This means that we have to do something about virus resistance on the variety side. With the disappearance of neonicotides, the power to protect the seed potato crop in the first six to eight weeks has suddenly gone. Seed potato growers need to spray even more now to keep virus problems under control. We know we have to go from A to B. There’s a transition time in between and the first step in such a transition time is often characterised by chaos. That may be the case with this year’s virus problem.’

 

 

 To read PotatoWorld magazine’s full article
 on the Variety Presentation Days, click here. 

Jos Bus, TPC, Emmeloord: ‘We put all our energy into crossing resistances.’

Jos Bus

‘Resistance in the broadest sense of the word, that’s what we aim for. Years ago, we could already see that the use of crop protection would come under pressure. That’s why we’ve put all our energy into crossing resistances. But I must add that we don’t hope that protection agents will disappear altogether. Without regulating the cultivation, resistances will soon break down, because nature is faster than we can keep up with in our traditional breeding work. This can be seen, for example, in the fight against nematodes. In fact, potato cyst nematode appears to have a much broader spectrum of strains than just the five that we’ve identified so far. And a frequent cultivation of varieties with certain resistances can quickly lead to a breakthrough. In combination with products such as nematicides, it was previously possible to retain the resistances for longer. As a breeder, you’ll then have more time to search for resistant genes or to work on stacking them. So we see that, if we try to combat resistance without these artificial means, we’ll very quickly lose those resistances again. What would be better, also for the environment, is that we continue combining resistances such as against Phytophthora – for which we still have some products – using at least three to four sprayings of these products per season. That’s already more than twice the number we do now, but that means that we’d hold resistances longer. The importance of incorporating resistance into varieties is therefore increasing significantly, but at the same time it’s also becoming increasingly complicated, especially if we have to stick to the traditional way of breeding. Fortunately, we’ve chosen this breeding approach in good time and we can still take the necessary steps with our experience. Collaboration within the BioImpuls initiative helps us with this. Here we have the opportunity to work on stacking genes that are resistant to Phytophthora with the help of modern marker techniques. And we see, for example, the opportunity to combine Phytophthora resistance with a broad resistance to nematodes and wart disease. A good example of this is a crossing number from our own breeding programme, the TPC 10-05-04. This is an upcoming French-fry variety with all the characteristics that growers and processors currently require, including all the resistances that I just mentioned.

 To read PotatoWorld magazine’s full article
 on the Variety Presentation Days, click here. 

Sjefke Allefs, Agrico Research, Bant: ‘It’s imperative that we get decent virus resistance in our varieties.’

Sjefke Allefs

‘We’re currently paying a lot of attention to our Next Generation varieties, whereby Phytophthora resistance is an important characteristic. A ware variety we have high expectations of in this context is Levante. However, given the virus problems we have this season, we need to incorporate a decent resistance into our varieties for this. I think that the problems with viruses are mainly caused by the scaling up in seed potato cultivation, combined with a number of hot summers and favourable conditions for virus infections. This increase in scale is not reversible. That’s why it’s important to crossbreed virus resistance into varieties in order to keep seed potato cultivation reliable for the future. Traditionally, as commercial breeders, we were told that we shouldn’t do too much about virus resistance. The fact that a variety like Santé is immune to viruses turned out to be commercially undesirable. The variety didn’t degenerate enough in the sales areas. At the moment, however, it’s important that we increase the level of resistance, but we must stay away from immunity. This is technically possible, because there are intermediate gradations in resistance. We’re now investigating how genetics currently relates to virus-related problems that occur in practice. What we’re seeing is substantial variety differences. We already have markers for the major genes, but how the intermediate levels relate is not yet clear. It’s important to find this out, because it allows us to determine the virus resistance at an early stage. At the moment there’s still a lot of work to be done to establish good resistance figures. We have to plant new varieties between diseased plants, harvest the tubers and have them tested afterwards. This means that we only have a result that compares with the standard varieties once a year. These are rather laborious methods, which we’d like to speed up.’

 To read PotatoWorld magazine’s full article
 on the Variety Presentation Days, click here. 

Colm McDonnel, IPM, Dublin (Ireland): ‘If you want to be successful in breeding, it’s especially important to have a vision of the future.

Colm McDonnel

‘What we, as growers, always try to aim for is to focus our breeding on demands from the market. However, the problem is always that you can only answer new questions in eight to twelve years’ time, because it takes at least that long to develop a variety. Some issues have been around for a long time, such as Phytophthora and nematode resistance. If you’ve been in the breeding business for a long time, you’ve undoubtedly been working on it for many years and that’s also the case with IPM. But when it comes to suddenly emerging problems such as the recent virus issues, not every breeder has a readily-available answer. That’s the tricky part of our line of work. If you want to be successful in breeding, it’s especially important to have a vision of the future. Years ago, for example, we already realised that crop protection chemicals would be restricted in the EU-5 countries. We’re losing sprout inhibitors, pesticides, nematicides, fungicides and insecticides. There will be fewer and fewer of all these products available soon. So, one day, there’ll be a demand for varieties that can survive without these products. Climate change is another factor that we saw coming many years ago and which we started to address in our breeding work. The result of this is that we now have a list of new varieties that you can definitely call robust. They can take a beating when it comes to climate extremes and they also harbour the desired resistances that require less spraying. A still young variety that contains all these characteristics is our Buster. When I go through the rating list, I see, for example, a 9 for nematode resistance, a 5 and 8 for Phytophthora resistance and an excellent rating for taste. Furthermore, this variety is easy to grow and also provides plenty of tubers for the cultivation of seed potatoes. It’s quite a challenge to get this far with a variety, but it’s the type we have in mind at the moment.’

 To read PotatoWorld magazine’s full article
 on the Variety Presentation Days, click here. 

Dirk van Dijken, Royal ZAP/Semagri, Wieringerwerf: ‘Customers are looking for varieties that they can sell exclusively in their market.’

Dirk van Dijken

‘Within the international potato starch market, we already have a number of beautiful varieties in our package. An important focus in our breeding work is finding varieties with resistance to Phytophthora and potato cyst nematode, and with the quality characteristics necessary for our important North African market. The first two characteristics are especially important for our seed potato growers in the Netherlands. After all, Royal ZAP is a seed potato cooperative within which we have to develop profitable varieties for our members. In addition, we see that our customers in countries such as Egypt, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are looking for their own variety that, in addition to the largest Spunta variety, they can sell exclusively in their own market. They want to invest in this themselves. This is an important factor, because we have to trial all new varieties locally. In addition to the requirement that potatoes in their country must give large tubers, Phytophthora resistance is also increasingly important. In our search for new varieties, we collaborate with breeders of non-protected varieties in the Netherlands and with the French Grocep breeding station. Personally, I’d like to exert more influence on the crossings that the breeders develop there. At the moment, they determine the crossings and we, as a seed potato trading company, are only then allowed choose our varieties. One variety of which we currently have great expectations was actually developed by someone else. That’s the Dunastar from breeder Piet Smeenge. This red-skinned variety is strong on Phytophthora and has growth potential in several countries in North Africa. In addition, the variety has Ro 1-4 resistance.’

 To read PotatoWorld magazine’s full article
 on the Variety Presentation Days, click here. 

Harry van de Vijver, Germicopa, Quimper (F): ‘The ban on CIPC has been a focal point for us in breeding for quite some time.’

Harry van de Vijver

‘There are many issues at the moment, so the question isn’t easy to answer. Some recent issues, for example, relate to the disappearance of crop protection chemicals. I’m thinking of haulm destruction and storage products. The disappearance of CIPC has long been a point of concern in breeding here, especially because it’s been an issue in France for quite some time. The result has been varieties that you can store for a long time at a low temperature, 3.5 to 4 degrees Celcius. Examples are the Amadine and Cherie. For French-fry varieties it’s still a challenge to bring the storage temperature down while maintaining the frying quality. Although we’ve already been successful with crisps varieties. For example, we have the Kelly, a variety that can be stored for a long time at a temperature of about 5 degrees Celsius and can then be fried any without discolouring. And when it comes to viruses, we’ve already taken steps in this regard. What you see here is a starch variety with high virus resistance that is doing well in organic cultivation and which is popular in Austria. As regards to haulm killing, we don’t think we should grow late varieties anymore, which means that, as an alternative, we’ll have to focus more on varieties that mature earlier and produce higher yields and can also be stored for a long time. A variety that has these characteristics is the Malou. This table potato matures mid-early, has a high hectare yield and can be stored for a long time without anti-sprouting agents.

 To read PotatoWorld magazine’s full article
 on the Variety Presentation Days, click here. 

Gerard Schenk, Agroplant, Medemblik: ‘In the past few years, we’ve also invested a lot of time and energy in the development and marketing of French-fry and crisps

Gerard Schenk

‘Agroplant has been active in the export market and the table segment for many years now. In the past few years, however, we have also invested the necessary time and energy in the development and marketing of French-fry and crisps varieties. This is simply a strong growth market in the world, which means that the demand for varieties with a wide range of specifications is also increasing. You have to think of variations in earliness, flesh colour, shape, pest and disease resistances as well as stress resistance. Not every breeding company has a ready-made answer to every issue, but we’ll be able to provide one or more solutions for the points mentioned. Incidentally, the desire to offer French-fry and crisps varieties isn’t so much because we want to enter those markets per se, but rather to meet the demand of our regular customers. In their home market they are increasingly being asked for processable varieties. In order to be able to develop these varieties, Agroplant is working together with Fobek breeding company where they already have the necessary experience in developing varieties in both market segments. The trick for us is to provide Fobek with the precise variety criteria that our customers need, so they get exactly what they have in mind. The breeding outcome that’s currently available is still very young, we don’t yet have a ready-made solution for both French fries and crisps in the trays. What we do have are numbers that we think might turn into a variety. One of these is a variety that’s very suitable for processing into French fries, the BU-09-524. It’s red-skinned, has slightly-yellowish flesh, and gives a high-harvestable yield for both seed and ware potato growers. Thanks to its smooth and round shape, any crisps manufacturer can also achieve a high return here.’

 To read PotatoWorld magazine’s full article
 on the Variety Presentation Days, click here. 

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