In the Irish Republic, there is a new initiative, aimed at helping domestic potato growers get their produce into Irish chip shops. Bord Bia, Teagasc, the IFA and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine are joining forces to increase the volume of home-grown potatoes sold in Irish chip shops.
Ireland grows some 300,000 tons of potatoes a year for domestic consumption, but the country still imports 80,000 tons every year. 64,000 tons of these come from the UK and the majority of these fresh potato imports are used by chip shop owners. There are currently over 530 independent chip shops in the country.
Over the past two years, Meadowfresh and O'Shea Farms have engaged with Bord Bia, Teagasc and the IFA to support the chipping potato project and proceeded to grow specific crops for the Irish chip shop channel.
Opening a new distribution centre as well as visiting a new purpose built storage facility, the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine said a storage facility which maintains the correct sugar and starch levels in potatoes, as well as keeping them fresh beyond the winter period, is absolutely key to producing the quality that is needed in good chipping potatoes.
"So the development of such a facility, along with the official opening today of Ireland's first dedicated potato packer and distributor focusing on the exclusive growing of potatoes for chipping, is a real opportunity for Irish growers to supply home-grown potatoes for the Irish chip shop market," Pippa Hackett told rte.ie.