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Agrico Research: 'As soon as a French-fry manufacturer accepts a potato variety as a raw material, things move fast.'

Agrico Research: 'As soon as a French-fry manufacturer accepts a [potato] variety as a raw material, things move fast.'

Sjefke Allefs, Agrico Research, Bant: 'As soon as a French-fry manufacturer accepts a variety as a raw material, things move fast.'

October 26, 2019
Every year in the first full week of November, the European potato breeding and seed trading companies operating in the Netherlands present their new varieties and latest breeding results to their global customer base.

Many of these new varieties are intended to be used some day for the production of French Fries. All participants at what we here at PotatoPro call the 'Potato Variety Presentations in the Netherlands' (of doodgewoon rassenpresentaties in het Nederlands) have one or more contenders in this segment.

This raises the question:

“Is there room for all those new French-fry varieties?”
That is the question Aardappelwereld (World Potato Magazine) asked the participating companies last year. And thanks to our brand new partnership agreement with them, we can report you the answers they got in this series of articles!


Agrico Research, Bant


Sjefke Allefs, Agrico Research, Bant:

“A number of French-fry varieties have taken up very dominant positions in the market. As soon as a French-fry manufacturer accepts a variety as a raw material, things move fast. Nevertheless, there’s certainly room for new varieties, but the entry barriers are very high. ”

“As soon as we cross Phytophthora into a new variety, it has a lot of added value in the market. Phytophthora is particularly widely present in an area like Northwest Europe, where much of the French-fry production takes place. We have to cross these important characteristics into a variety to find a new Fontane, Agria or Bintje. ”

“Moreover, improvements can be made in potato cyst nematode resistance for both consumption and seed potato growers. I regard potato cyst nematode as an important limiting factor for the production of seed potatoes in the Netherlands.Resistant varieties are the way to control this problem.In the top 10 of processing varieties, only Innovator has a partial pallida resistance.”

“We’re responding to this issue with varieties such as Libero, Lugano and Basin Russet. We're also seeing that the industry is picking up these varieties. This is only possible if the added value is significant.In all the fresh French-fry, conventional fry and QSR fry segments, the manufacturers want to have the varieties available all year round.”

New Agrico potato variety for use for French Fries: Basin Russet

Sjefke Allefs:

“In the early French-fry sector there’s still room in the various segments. I feel there’s a balance in the market between long storage and early varieties. An early variety doesn’t give a 100 percent relative yield. On the other hand, storage until July costs a lot of energy.”

“It’s a top-class sport to store potatoes that you can still make good chips from in July. For the time being, both systems are optional, and can also exist next to each other. We’ve noticed this year especially, when storage is an even greater challenge for the growers, that the processing industry wants to have all the varieties planted with early French-fry characteristics.”

“For the Fontane, which will only become a free variety in 2028, a possible successor is the Palace, a variety from our diploid breeding programme. This variety gives structurally 10 percent more yield than the Fontane. That’s worth it.”

Potato Variety Presentation Agrico Research

Agrico Research holds its presentations on November 7 and 8 at:
Burchweg 17
8314 PP BANT
The Netherlands
Companies in this Article
Agrico is a Dutch farmers cooperative of over 1,300 specialist potato growers, producing in excess of one million tonnes of seed and ware potatoes per year.
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