Monday, 19 November 2018

 

In this interview with Françoise Saint-Ghislain (pictured), marketing director of Lutosa, we discuss trends and innovation in processed potato products.

By Dan Orehov

What are the current market trends concerning processed potatoes, including French fries varieties? What do consumers prefer?

We noticed a rise in our customer’s demand for organic- based products. Therefore, we have been expanding our existing range of frozen fries (Straight Cut and Pom’Steak), wedges, mashed potatoes, and potato flakes (for instant mash), by introducing the frozen dices. The organic range targets the industry, the food service and retail markets.

Gluten-free is another trend where Lutosa can easily play a role as all our fries and cut products (wedges, slices, dices…) are 100% gluten-free. Veganism and flexitarianism are also growing trends, so we continue to offer more vegetables with 39% of veggies in our Veggie Burger.

“Staying in is the new going out!”. People are gathering more and more at home, ordering food online. Therefore, we adapt our offer of fries to make home delivery more convenient. The Lutosa X-TRA CRISPY coated fries (all cutsizes) stay warm and crispy for longer.

Consumed at home or in bars and brasseries, the fingerfoods are also more and more offered on the market place to accompany a good glass of wine or Belgian beer. Hence, products and packages are smaller in size: Mini Pom’Tapas with basilicum are subtly seasoned little snacks from mash potato. The Potato crunchies are made of shredded potato. We also have our skin-on wedges cut in 8 and coated with several kinds of spices (Garden Wedges with fine herbs and garlic, or the Spicy ones).

And finally, people opt more and more for authenticity. Our skin-on French fries, for example: some say that their taste is different, other’s that they are more authentic, tasting of good old staple food.

Please describe the innovative potato products in your portfolio.

In our specialty range, our Mini Pom’Churros (with onions or spicy) are probably the most successful ones for this year. Lutosa’s frozen Mini Pom’Churros are the perfect solution for today’s snack and tapas trend. Made from lightly-seasoned Bintje mash, they are new salty take on the traditional Spanish churros. Crunchy on the outside, they then literally melt in your mouth. In our fries range, the Surf potatoes – prefried in sunflower oil - are answering the need for snacks for sportive people.

Fun, diversity and action! Originally-shaped, the Surf Potatoes guarantee extra crispiness thanks to their thin crinkle cut. Short, medium or long, it’s also their color which will please everyone, strengthened by the undeniable assets of the Xtra+ label.

What are some of the main challenges you encounter as a processor?

To start with a varying raw material depending on the harvest or the time of the year (harvest happens in October and the potatoes are stored till the harvest of the early crops) is really challenging when you want to get an end product of stable and good quality. Teamwork is the key to obtain this: the farmers plant/harvest/store, the potato processor shows a lot of craftsmanship to guarantee the best end product, the logistics and transport specialists take care of the worldwide delivery in the right storage conditions. And once the products arrive at their destination, their story all starts and ends there: Lutosa works along with a strong base of local ambassadors that run their own company. They usually embrace the Lutosa brand and add it to their existing production and/or portfolio. They are the closing link of this big teamwork chain! Of course, we offer training to our ambassadors, we listen to their requirements, and offer them product development and marketing. 

You can read more in our print magazine Potato Processing International (May/June 2018)!



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