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AHDB Potatoes TV advert premiered at South East Potato Day

8 August 2011


The first official viewing of the new TV advertisement that will inspire consumers to cook more potatoes took place at the South East Potato Day at Quex Barns, Birchington in Kent (June 24).   
Caroline Evans, AHDB Potatoes head of marketing and corporate affairs, who presented the commercial, explained: “This is a first for us and we hope it will give an additional boost to our promotional campaigns. It has been made possible as a result of the additional investment secured through EU co-financing. The TV ad is part of an integrated campaign and features real people cooking their own potato recipes – to demonstrate how well they fit with people’s lifestyles.”
Ms Evans also gave an insightful analysis of up-to-date economic trends and consumer confidence.  “Recent research shows an average of 42 per cent of consumers don’t know the price of potatoes immediately after leaving the retail fixture,” she said. “This demonstrates that potatoes are considered a staple rather than a price-sensitive ‘luxury’ food.”
Water was an important topic at the event and Richard Penn from the Environment Agency called on growers to review their licences to make sure they reflect their needs. He also recommended growers examine the possibility of using winter storage to prevent periods when river extraction water may not be available for crop irrigation. 
“One of the challenges we have is getting the water to where it is needed when it is needed,” he explained. “When river levels are low abstraction may be reduced, or suspended, to prevent environmental damage. However, at the same time, groundwater levels can be adequate but most growers do not have flexibility in supplies.” 
The importance of getting the right water management strategy was a theme continued in the afternoon workshops. Cambridge University Farms’ Dr Mark Stalham warned it could mean the difference between keeping or sacrificing part of a crop.
David Hudson of David Hudson Potato Services Ltd examined the numerous causes of poor crop growth and incomplete ground cover, and the time-frame for reversing this. Discussions were held on the ideal depth of seed bed preparation above and below the tuber, with Mr Hudson recommending between 15-20 cm above the tuber and 2-3 cm below for optimum yield, conceding that this would depend on the available soil depth.
“These practical discussions are a good way of building rapport with the researchers, helping them appreciate growers’ concerns,” said AHDB Potatoes technical executive Chris Steele, one of the organisers of the event.
The day was arranged by Kent Potato Company Ltd and AHDB Potatoes and supported by the Environment Agency, Potato Review and the NFU.
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