Linwood Crops have been in the potato business for a long time and according to Managing Director Chris Marshall they know a bit about potatoes! The Linwood team from QA to Management have all been in the specific potato industry for years, many straight from school.
“The question people always ask is ‘what is the best variety’? But it is not quite as simple as that as it depends on how the potato has been grown, the irrigation regime, the fertiliser used, soil type, maturity, storage and so on,” explains Chris Marshall. This knowledge, although partly based on science, also comes from experience.
“What we are doing with our new ‘suitable for’ purpose (Chef’s Taste) concept is that whatever is put in the bag is suitable for that use. Certain varieties are great for some things, for example frying, but if the potatoes have been stored at different temperatures or harvested at different maturities they react in different ways when fried, baked or mashed. We are taking out all the variability so that when it is cooked in a certain way it will always have the same result”.
Older consumers tend to know a few traditional varieties and will still use them, whereas younger consumers will buy potatoes for a certain method of cooking and want consistent results.
“It is a scientific process and tests are carried out in Linwood’s testing facilities; we also know the history of the potato, where and how it has been grown, stored etc. so we know how to choose potatoes for a specific purpose.
"This process of selection is so different to what is now common practice, a practice forced by consumers and retailers looking to meet price points to the detriment of taste. The incentive now being volume production and varieties that give bright skins over the eating quality."
The Chef’s Taste Range was launched at the beginning of the year.
“Our predominant markets now are wholesale and food service. We are looking to sell them at garden centres and are setting up a home delivery system for larger bags, but we are also looking at smaller 5kg and 2.5kg packs for retail, driven by the connoisseur chefs at home.
“Supermarkets have so many different varieties on their approved list that if a consumer buys a ‘white’ potato one week, enjoys it and comes back the next week to buy it again, the likelihood is that they get a different variety which may have very different cooking properties. There is no consistency, we are looking to take away that inconsistency to improve sales of potatoes.”
The Chef’s Taste range is colour coded for purpose and easy selection – this colour code runs through the brand.
For more information:
Tel: +44 1354 707860