On the occasion of the Christmas campaign, the Udapa cooperative from Alava has launched the Beltza potato, a new variety created and registered by Neiker, which stands out for its intense purple color and its high antioxidant compounds that provide health benefits.
It was last spring when, after signing a collaboration agreement between the two entities, Udapa received from Neiker 600 kilograms of Beltza potato seed.
After conducting an exhaustive agronomic analysis on the farm of one of its partners, now, the nearly 7,000 kilograms obtained from that first production campaign will be used to carry out a market acceptance study.
For the moment, consumers will be able to purchase this new reference in 1 kilogram formats, in cardboard trays and wrapped in compostable film, in EROSKI and El Corte Inglés supermarkets, as well as in traditional greengrocers supplied by the wholesaler Iru fruits.
Alfonso Sáenz de Cámara, manager of Udapa S.Coop:
“Despite the fact that Beltza has a dark color that most of us are not used to associate with potatoes, we hope that consumers will accept the product well and enjoy its flavor and all its qualities.”
“At the moment, this reference is generating a lot of interest among people who have not tried purple potato and, little by little, they are being encouraged to buy it.”
Leire Barañano, CEO of Neiker:
“The Beltza potato is the result of Neiker's knowledge and its long experience in research, in order to help the sector with innovative products with which to diversify and adapt to consumer demands.”
“It is the perfect example of collaboration and transfer between a technology center and the company.”
The purple potato is widely used in restaurants due to its peculiarities in the coloring of the pulp.
The purple potato is widely used in restaurants due to its peculiarities in the coloring of the pulp, as well as for its use in IV and V food range, so the cooperative also plans to allocate 1,500 kilos to some of its HORECA Channel customers, as long as the situation in this sector improves.
Looking ahead to 2021, Udapa will continue working and giving added value to potatoes through the commercialization of new references that respond to the needs of current consumers.
Alfonso Sáenz de Cámara:
“Once we finish with the Christmas season, we will analyze how sales have gone, and all the data collected will help us to encourage the production and commercialization of this variety in the future, thus strengthening once again our commitment to the local product.”
Working to get new varieties of potato
Neiker registered in 2019 the new purple variety called 'Beltza' in the European Registry of Protected Varieties, continuing with its mission of helping the agricultural sector with innovative products with which to diversify and adapt to consumer demands.
In recent years, Neiker has started a selection program with the aim of obtaining varieties adapted to our growing conditions and with high levels of bioactive compounds and antioxidant capacity, related to the delay of cellular aging and prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
Obtaining the new variety shows the commitment of Neiker for innovation in one of the star products of agriculture in Álava.
The Neiker Department of Plant Production and Protection's procedure to obtain new varieties is strictly based on natural methods, by crossing different varieties with good agronomic characteristics and offering resistance to the main diseases of the crop.
Since 1933, the year in which the Potato Improvement Station was created in Iturrieta (Álava), the technology center has been developing new varieties through a clonal selection process, adapted to the agroclimatic conditions of the different potato-producing areas of the State and the European Union.
To date, Neiker has registered more than thirty varieties, some of them successfully in national and international markets.
The advantages of these own varieties are, among others, a higher product yield, reduced costs, and greater resistance to different diseases, as well as avoiding dependence on varieties from abroad.
The Basque Government has always opted for this line of work and has co-financed it since it started, more than 80 years ago. The new varieties that Neiker obtains are always made available to local entities, both for seed potatoes and for consumption.
Their projection in the market means that Neiker reverts income that is once again made available to the line to obtain new varieties and not only potatoes but also peppers, chili, chard, corn, among others.