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Why Resilience is a Must Have for the Frozen Potato Industry during COVID-19

COVID-19 is deeply reshaping our lives, both personally and professionally. Since its beginning, where I live in Bergamo, we have been confronted with something unprecedented, which has marked a line between how we had been living so far and how we will come out after it. Now we are gradually preparing for what will be our new normal and all the necessary changes that this will require. While reflecting on this, I found strong parallelism with the frozen potatoes industry: heavily hit, feeling the blow, but with unshaken willingness to come out of COVID-19 stronger than before. What will be the necessary changes that will help the industry accelerate in its recovery? How can we, as TOMRA, contribute? 

-Marco Colombo, Global Category Director TOMRA Food 

 

The high cost of keeping products in cold storage and not selling to customers is impacting producers and wholesalers alike. The decline in demand for frozen potatoes is sticky to the restrictions in place for  the time being and those in the industry, can see this trial to time to pioneer operations into a more sustainable frontier. These recent months may have been unprecedented and shown us what good can happen when people work togetherJust this Thursday (May 14,2020) 200,000 pounds of potatoes were donated in Tacoma, Washington (USA) by the Washington State Potato Commission to help those in need.

french fries

With extra products on hand and a world full of hungry mouths, other companies like the global giant McDonald's, have chosen to donate what they can to food banks during this time of need. Although they have been amongst the hardest hit during the lockdown, people are still willing to donate what they can to nourish others and not let good food go to waste.

COVID-19 is showing us that we must adapt to survive, and has prompted us to find creative solutions as a result. 

All the actors in the chain are contributing: the United States Government has provided $50 million of relief funds to aid Potato Farmers, and similarly, the Dutch Government has allocated 50 million for theirs. Belgapom encouraged Belgians to increase consumption of fries to twice a week. Farmers are renegotiating deals with their producers for the upcoming seasons and planned their crops around those needs. Companies planning on investing in new technologies have placed themselves in a position to get the most out of the low-interest rates currently offered by the banks.

FrenchFries_Production

These businesses that are making the most lemonade out of the lockdown are getting a head start optimizing the safety and quality of their operations for the future. No matter what tomorrow may bring, rest assured that TOMRA’s commitment to extraordinary high levels of food safety is unfaltering. We are leading the resource revolution to minimize waste and rejects, maximizing output and consistency, and increasing food safety along with peace of mind for our partners. 

There is no doubt that the world has changed but partnering together we can flip the tables on COVID-19. The saying is if you wish to go fast go alone, but if you want to go far go together and we at TOMRA are excited to see where our journey together might takes us. 

 

Topics: Automation, Sorter, food, Potatoes, French Fries, labour automation, TOMRA 5B

Marco Colombo

Written by Marco Colombo

Global Category Director Potatoes at TOMRA Food