Sainsbury’s has relaxed the product specification of Scottish potatoes to support farmers through one of the toughest seasons. The run of wet weather this season has left many Scottish farmers with crops of smaller potatoes with increased blemishes and scarring.
Varieties including Osprey, Maris Piper, Desiree and King Edward have all had smaller sized potatoes than normal years – however Sainsbury’s and Albert Bartlett have worked together to utilise the crop and include these in bags of spuds on the retailer’s shelves.
Without compromising on taste, Sainsbury’s has also permitted the inclusion of ‘growth cracked’ potatoes in the basics range to help farmers utilise as much of the crop as possible and avoid reliance on imported produce.
Julien Roberts, Sainsbury’s potato buyer said: “Our farmers across the UK have had a really challenging season due to the weather, that's why we've committed to make use of all potatoes and other veg that meets regulations and stands up on taste.”
“Customers might have noticed their spuds are smaller than usual, so despite a bit of extra cooking prep to serve up two baked potatoes rather than one they will taste just as good.”
Sainsbury’s has been working with Albert Bartlett since August last year to plan the potential effects that a wet season could have on the crop, this planning has meant British produce is available and customer demand can be met.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Potatoes are a key Scottish crop and Scotland has a world wide-reputation for the production of high quality seed potatoes. Our farmers have had a difficult time due to the wet summer and bad winter which has impacted on their harvests last year. This is a welcome move by Sainsbury’s and will provide reassurance to farmers and producers – consumers can also be assured that they will still receive top quality Scottish potatoes.”
John Heginbottom, Sales and Marketing director for Albert Bartlett continues: “Sainsbury’s has strongly supported their Scottish potato growers following one of the worst potato harvests and wettest summers on record. Sainsbury’s worked closely with us and our growers allowing ‘misshapen’ and smaller potatoes to be packed for their customers. This prompt and collaborative action helped to avoid the need for importing potatoes and utilised as much of the Scottish grown crop as possible.
Scottish potatoes available in Scottish Sainsbury’s stores include Osprey Maris Piper, Desiree and King Edward’s.
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