Flood-hit farmers get help from Tesco and supplier Branston to sell their ugly spuds
19 December 2019
Potato farmers who have been badly hit by crop damage after suffering the worst flooding since 2012 are to be given a helping hand by Tesco and supplier Branston.
Growers in Eastern regions are struggling to harvest crops at this key trading time of the year with crop yield down and appearance affected.
But from this week the supermarket will sell packs of potatoes grown in the region that carry a special blue sticker highlighting the recent flooding.
It follows a move by Tesco to widen the specifications set by retailers governing the overall look and quality of fruit and vegetables.
Around 60 per cent of Tesco’s premium quality potatoes are grown in East England.
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.”
It’s 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:
“In order to support our British growers in Eastern regions, we have worked collaboratively with Branston to ensure farmers are supported and customers are not facing a shortfall at this key time.
“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 that some of our premium quality Finest range potatoes won’t look as bright as they normally do.
“However, they will still taste great and we want to make sure that customers realise quality is more than just skin deep.”
The floods have mainly affected growers in Lincolnshire, Norfolk and parts of Yorkshire.
Branston commercial director Richard Clark commented:
“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 per cent of our tonnages”
Last year Tesco helped potato farmers in the run up to Christmas by also lifting crop specifications.
The move resulted in a greater variety of different looking but perfectly good potato sizes ending up on supermarket shelves across the UK.