Supermarket labels potatoes to support flood-hit farmers

Flood-hit potato farmers with damaged crops are being given a helping hand by Tesco and supplier Branston.

The supermarket giant has started selling potatoes in packs carrying a blue sticker telling shoppers that the potatoes might look different due to the weather – but they still taste good.

See also: Video – Flood-hit farmer uses digger to harvest potatoes

The sticker reads: “I’m not looking my gorgeous normal self but I still taste great. Buy me and support British farmers affected by the floods.”

The initiative follows a move to widen the retailer’s specifications for fruit and vegetables. About 60% of Tesco’s premium quality potatoes are grown in east England.

It is the second year running that potato farmers have been hit by poor growing conditions, following the Beast from the East and drought last year.

Tesco potato buyer Ben Rowbotham said the retailer and Branston wanted to ensure farmers were supported and customers did not face a shortfall at a key time of year.

“In Norfolk and Lincolnshire in particular, harvesting conditions have been extremely challenging and growers have worked hard to get as much crop out of the ground as possible.

“This means some of our premium quality Finest range potatoes won’t look as bright as they normally do.”

The floods have mainly affected growers in Lincolnshire, Norfolk, and parts of Yorkshire.

Branston commercial director Richard Clark said: “Usually great for potato-growing, these are the regions where we source most of our premium varieties.

“This autumn’s waterlogged fields have prevented or delayed harvesting. In some cases up to half the crop has been lost and we are still trying to harvest the remaining 20% of our tonnages”

Last year Tesco helped potato farmers in the run-up to Christmas by lifting crop specifications.

The move resulted in a greater variety of different-looking but good potato sizes ending up on supermarket shelves across the UK.

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