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“BEYOND THE ORDINARY” - DEHY BREAKS INTO NEW SECTOR IN THAILAND
A new, whole wheat bagel product, made soft with US dehy, was launched in two menu items in 31 outlets in Thailand and is the direct result of the United States Potato Board’s (USPB) technical assistance, sampling program and work with local importers and distributors. To ensure success of the product, the promotional launch was also supported by the USPB. For the period July 2007-May 2008, US exports of dehydrated potatoes to Thailand increased 31.46 percent over the previous year’s totals to date, reaching 1,120 MT or 160,524 cwt fresh weight equivalent.
US exports of dehydrated potatoes fell 11 percent by volume and 7 percent by value to $132 million for the July/June 2007/08 marketing year. The greatly increased price of US dehy and tight supply contributed to this decline; however the biggest impact was the reduction in production at the STAX plant in Mexico.
Mexico moved from the largest dehy export market into second, behind Japan, this past year. Although exports to this market reached an all time high of 37,245 MT in MY05, they declined by 46 percent in MY06 and 50 percent in MY07. Increased demand for US potatoes and high prices limited growth and exports fell to 25,515 MT.
It is believed that the majority of this decline is because the STAX chip product manufactured in Mexico by Frito Lay with US dehy and then re-exported to the US has not done well. It is believed that the contract for STAX between Wal-Mart US and Frito Lay was not renewed this past year.
In looking at calendar year dehy export numbers when the STAX plant first started and comparing them to potato chip imports to the US, the trend lines are very similar. Imports to the US in 2008 are only 7.7 MT for the time period of January through June 2008. In comparing pre-Stax export numbers to the past marketing year, dehy numbers have increased by approximately 178 percent in six years.
To date, through the International Food Aid Initiative (IFAI), 8,620 MT of dehy, worth $7,891,835, has been purchased by the US government for use in food assistance programming.
Ginbis, a mid-size Japanese snack food company, recently launched a new “non fried potato snack” under a private label “Mujirushi-ryohin”. The snack comes in two flavors “potato” and “green soy bean (edamame)” and is packaged in four 21g packs which are 100 Calories each. These snacks will be sold at major retailers such as supermarkets and convenience stores throughout Japan along with the company’s other products such as biscuits and their chocolate, corn and non-fried snacks. Made with US dehy, this new snack is the result of the USPB working with local importers/distributors and a sampling program.
Additionally, Meiji Seika, the largest snack food company in Japan, launched two non-fried potato snacks made with US dehy. “Jagamama” is a salt/pepper flavored potato stick packaged in 45g bags with sales goals set for this product at one billion yen in the first year. “Galbo” chips, a chocolate flavored snack packed in 70g bags, is a hit with teens, according to their website. Both are sold in supermarkets and convenience stores throughout Japan. To view an advertisement for this product (in Japanese) please visit: http://www.meiji.co.jp/sweets/chocolate/galbo/
Dehy exports to Japan increased over the last fiscal year (July 2007 – June 2008) to reach 18,534 MT or 2,656,385 cwt fresh weight equivalent.
In Japan, USPB representative, Uniflex Marketing, continues to implement outstanding activities to affect the USPB International Marketing growth strategy for dehy: “Increase understanding and use of US dehydrated potato products!” Publicity, such as this article in Ryori Tshushin, a very popular monthly cuisine magazine, builds a foundation of technical knowledge and information regarding the benefits of utilizing US dehy in a variety of applications. The article provides education and training about US dehy where needed and appropriate and helps to increase the number of channels in which US dehy is included and utilized.
In the first section, Chef Fujimori of Bigot Tokyo presents two types of Fujimori-style bread that make the most of the benefits of US dehydrated potatoes. Standard potato flakes are blended into the dough of the Potato Bagel to enhance the chewy texture, while sautéed diced and shredded dehy potatoes are also blended to add the taste of potatoes. The water retention property of potatoes is used to provide the dough texture. “The crust is light and crisp. So, I recommend that you not slice but bite it off to enjoy the texture,” recommends Fujimori.
Homemade semi-dried tomatoes and sautéed onions are generously added to enhance the flavor, and plenty of shredded dehy potatoes are used as a topping. This bread is very satisfying because consumers see and feel the potato pieces well. Fujimori noted, “Bread made with US potatoes has a taste the Japanese people like. Combining dehydrated mashed potatoes provides a chewy texture. Shredded and diced potatoes provide a pleasant texture and taste.”
Chef Yutaka Yamazaki of the Technology Development Division of Saint-Germain made potato bread for this study. Based on his experience in Europe, he recommends making bread with potatoes. He used US dehy standard potato flakes, which have high quality throughout the year, to make mashed potatoes to mix into bread dough. Yamazaki made two types of bread: Potato 7 percent, which contained potatoes and wheat flour at the ratio of 21 percent (7 percent standard potato flakes + 14 percent water); and Potato 12 percent, which contained 36 percent potatoes (12 percent standard potato flakes + 24 percent water).
In order to make the difference between the potato contents clear, the same basic formula was used for Potato 7 percent and Potato 12 percent. The only difference was that part of the flour was replaced by standard potato flakes. “Even 1 percent potato flakes will change the texture of bread,” said Yamazaki.
Potato bread was physically evaluated. Is this really soft? Different people feel differently about texture when they chew food, such as “hard,” “soft,” or “chewy.” So, Chef Yamazaki physically evaluated potato pan bread and quantified the chewing properties. They evaluated Potato 7, Potato 12 and regular wheat flour pan bread on Day one and Day three.
“For wheat flour bread, we evaluated products from two Boulangerie restaurants, calculated averages and compared them. We then used the “Tensipressor My Boy” and performed a TPA measurement (pressing twice with the same pressure), low and high pressure compression measurement (pressing with low pressure and then high pressure) and multiple byte accumulation (pressing repeatedly with gradually increasing pressure),” explained Yamazaki. The results of the hardness measurement using three measurement methods indicated that potato bread was softer than wheat flour bread.
In the “chewiness” measurement, Potato 7 percent and Potato 12 percent were 67 percent and 53 percent, respectively, of that for the wheat flour bread. This means potato bread required less energy; in other words, people do not need as much force to chew it.
Different people feel differently about texture. However, it is interesting that the difference in formula was evidently shown as “softness” in the results of the physical evaluation.
As a result of this publicity, consumers will be able to test the benefits of potato bread first hand, and bakers will be able to learn more about incorporating dehy into their bakery products. Interest generated from these educational pieces has resulted in new product development and new menu launches.
USPB JAPANESE REP SPONSORS A "GET-TOGETHER WITH MEDIA" FEATURING NEW STARBUCKS MENU ITEMS MADE WITH US DEHY
The event featured Starbucks’ "Coffee-Tasting" and the launch of the restaurant’s new Tuna Melt Sandwich, “powered” by US dehy in the bun. The use of standard potato flakes in other foods, like, potato cheese cake, potato jelly and potato breads, by USPB Japan were also introduced. All of the invited media guests attended.
“All who attended were very surprised to learn potato flakes can be used in many ways such as food, breads, sweets, etc.,” noted USPB Japan Representative, Rie Tomoda. “The ‘coffee-tasting’ was also a big hit, making for a very successful event.
Chez Bigot is the pioneering bakery that brought authentic French bread to Japan. Now Chef Jiro Fujimori has invented two new varieties of pastry made with US dehydrated potatoes. Looking and tasting delicious, both have created quite a sensation.
The focaccio consists of bread dough with mashed potatoes, bacon, and corn kneaded in, plus layers of dehydrated sliced potatoes inside and on the top. The whole pastry is then baked golden-brown.
The galette consists of croissant dough with a spurt of mashed potato purée, topped with dehydrated shredded potatoes and baked in the oven.
Fujimori reveals, “Using completely different doughs for the two pastries seems to have been a good idea. We had expected our customers would opt for one or the other variety, but, in fact, many purchase both. Also, we’ve evidently piqued the curiosity of others in the business too. ‘You’re certainly up to something unusual,’ they tell us. There are still lots of patisserie chefs out there to whom all of this is completely new.”
Chef Fujimori has long believed potato and bread make a great combination. This latest experiment has made him more confident of that than ever. “Kneading potatoes into the dough endows it with a trace of sweetness and gives it that soft, moist texture so distinctive to potatoes. The result is the type of flavor that Japanese love.
“Another thing I discovered: potatoes and béchamel go very well together. Salting is also important. To achieve the right balance, you should use dough that’s as salty as possible but leave the flavor of the potatoes natural and unadorned.”
These two creations seem to have tickled the fancy of Philippe Bigot himself, generally no great fan of breads with various ingredients baked in. He was so intrigued he even asked for the recipe.
“Mr. Bigot has his own definite ideas, and he doesn’t waiver very much from them. So when we try something new, he usually doesn’t think much of it. But this time, things are different. He considers these two stylish pastries quite worthy to grace our stores,” concluded Fujimori.
Boulangerie, a newly opened retail bakery in Tokyo, has heard about the outstanding benefits of incorporating US dehydrated potatoes into bakery items. After receiving dehy samples from the USPB and working with their local distributor, they have developed two new types of “Jyaga Pan” or “Potato Bread” - plain potato buns and corn potato buns. Boulangerie has found that with the inclusion of dehy, they get a totally new texture – “a springy texture which provides a sensation of fullness with a small bite.” They are also inspired by the shelf life improvement they are experiencing and think it may contribute to more efficient production in the bakery.
Working with local importers and distributors has been a key to success in getting Japanese bakeries to utilize US dehy. They are now providing smaller packages, 1 kg, to bakeries instead of 25 kg bags. Bakeries are learning about the technical characteristics of dehy and the benefits of utilizing US dehy in baked goods through USPB educational materials and seminars. “Potato Bread Fair” promotional materials have also been developed for bakeries to utilize in their stores to enhance the sales of the items with US dehy.
All of these activities contribute to the increasing exports to Japan which reached 18,413MT (2,639,043 cwt fresh weight equivalent) in fiscal year 2007 (July 2006-June 2007).
USPB Promotional Poster highlighting “potato bread” and US potato nutrition
The USPB representative office in Japan exhibited at the 11th FABEX Food Show in Tokyo, April 9-11, focusing on the use of US mashed potatoes (both dehy and frozen) in quick service and deli food service settings. Eleven different types of dehy and frozen mashed potato products were displayed, along with information on their advantage over local fresh potatoes.
The display also provided information on innovative serving suggestions appropriate to these specialized food service settings. Four different dishes, made with US mashed potatoes, were served to the visitors: beef stew & mashed potatoes, mentai potato soup, potato paste matcha mizuyokan and potato cheesecake. The show attracted 55,383 visitors over the three days and the USPB provided 4,550 sample meals made with US mashed potatoes.
The USPB’s Japan Representative Office announces English-style pub, HUB, operated by HUB Co., Ltd. of Tokyo, is offering two mashed potato items made with US dehy: Roast Beef with Mashed Potatoes and Shepherd’s Pie, at its 39 shops across Japan, beginning March 27th. Mainly in the Tokyo, Chubu and Kansai regions, HUB operates a total of 47 shops, including 39 shops under the HUB brand and 8 shops under the 82 ALEHOUS brand.
HUB is an English-style pub targeting male and female office workers in their 20’s and 30’s. Customers have casual drinks and enjoy conversation in an atmosphere just like an actual English pub. The menu includes HUB’s Original Beer and Fish & Chips.
To develop menu items using mashed potatoes, a typical English food, test products were made with several kinds of potato flakes before deciding to use US standard potato flakes. The person in charge of menu development at HUB said, “We decided to use US standard potato flakes because they have a rich, deep taste and remain delicious over time.” He also appreciates that “standard potato flakes are labor-saving, easy to handle and convenient because we can prepare mashed potatoes just by rehydrating them in milk.”
US dehy has helped create tsukemen (noodles served with a bowl of dipping sauce) and ramen (noodles) with a novel taste. The ramen industry is paying more attention to noodles than before, partly because tsukemen has become a standard item. Various aspects of noodles—such as taste, aroma and texture—are emphasized, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate a particular noodle product from others as long as its main ingredient is limited to wheat flour.
Now, major noodle manufacturer Taisei Foods Co., Ltd., has succeeded in creating these novel noodles using US dehydrated potatoes. The noodles, which release the flavor of potatoes as they are chewed, have been added to the permanent menu at Mensaibo, a ramen restaurant, in Tokyo.“By using US dehy potatoes in this clever way, our Chinese noodles will have more opportunities,” stated Norio Torii, President of Taisei Foods Co., Ltd.
Chinese noodles are made from wheat flour, water, salt and kansui (a food additive consisting of alkaline salts). To savor the full flavor of wheat in the noodle, only limited amounts of additional ingredients are added. , as possible, should be added to noodle dough if one is to fully savor the flavor of wheat. “However, we tried to use as much dehy as possible so that the noodles would taste strongly of potatoes,” Torii said.
Since potatoes consist of starch, unlike gluten, they reduce the binding property of wheat flour.
On the other hand, the taste of potatoes becomes weaker as the ratio of potatoes in noodles decreases. “We concluded the optimum ratio of potatoes to wheat flour was 30 percent. We are satisfied with the resulting product because we can enjoy the texture of the noodles and the flavor of potatoes at the same time. In addition, the noodles, when cooked, are less likely to lose elasticity than flour-only noodles. They seem to provide a feeling of fullness that is longer lasting. Probably because they contain potatoes,” noted Torii.
Torii commented, “Since the noodles have strong characteristics, we recommend they be eaten as tsukemen. It is preferable to serve them with a rich and rather punchy sauce. We feel, as a noodle manufacturer, we have succeeded in creating an innovative product. However, it is possible to improve our noodle production method by further research. We will be able to increase the ratio of potatoes if we can work out a technique for binding noodle dough containing only a little gluten. It will be worth trying, for example, to use a machine that can apply a higher than conventional pressure, or to experiment with a vacuum mixer or an extrusion noodle-making machine.
“Potato-only noodles would be a great edge to differentiate a restaurant from the competition. We believe such noodles are not impossible because there are noodles made with only cornmeal in China,” concluded Torii.
Korean consumers can now enjoy the convenience and nutrition of US dehydrated potatoes with the newly launched “Mashed Potato Gold”, a new mashed potato product being sold at six Costco stores nationwide. Samjo Celltech, a division of Dongwon F & B, a big canned tuna manufacturer and meat processing company, launched the 805g can containing 87 percent of potato flakes blended with other ingredients. The retail price is W8,990 (about $9) per can. The product package states 35 servings, and provides three recipe recommendations – mashed potato salad, potato croquette, and fried shrimp breading.
Exports of US dehy to Korea are restricted by a tariff rate quota that increases to a tariff of 304 percent after the first 60 metric tons of imports. To get around this, exports are made of dehy blended with other ingredients, however getting these blends approved and imported can be very difficult as well. This new product shows that it can be done and with good market results.
In May the large Korean food manufacturer, Nongshim, launched Sweet Potato Flavor – Potato Meal, made with 27 percent US dehydrated potato flakes. This is a new addition to the Potato Meal line first launched in June 2007. The products are being sold through hypermarkets and will soon be available in supermarkets nationwide. The USPB is exploring promotional opportunities to help increase sales of these US dehy based products.
According to Susanne Myers’ article from EzineArticles.com, “when you’ve had a long day, or are fighting a nasty cold, there just isn’t anything better than a good cup of soup. There’s just something about a bowl of that warm liquid that makes you feel better no matter what happened.”
Now, thousands of consumers in Korea and Mexico can take comfort with two new soups launched in the retail sector and made with delicious, nutritious, US dehydrated potatoes.
This follows the November 2007 launch of “Potato and Lentil” soup, a new, refrigerated, and convenient “reheat and eat” item developed by Pulmuone and featured in the December 17, 2007 issue of “Industry Update”.
These are great accomplishments; especially taking into consideration Korea has a 304 percent tariff on dehy above the 30 MT quota for flakes, flour, granules and pellets. If the Korea-US FTA is passed, it would mean the quota would increase to 60 MT in the first year. The potential for US dehy in the Korean market is outstanding.
In Mexico, the largest dehy export market for the US, representing 3,656,794 cwt (fresh weight equivalent) of dehy exports, La Moderna launched a new, noodle soup nationwide. Two chains, GARIS, a regional chain with 28 outlets and Chedraui, a national chain with 96 outlets, are currently carrying the product. This soup includes US dehy dice, which is relatively new to the market and represents net new business.
Development of this product started well over a year ago when the company was visited by the USPB technical engineers and dehy samples provided.
During May the USPB representative in Mexico held a training session for bakers in Vera Cruz. The seminar was held in conjunction with CANAINPA, the Mexican bakery association annual meeting, was very well received by the local bakery industry, and was deemed a success.
The USPB’s engineer and an expert baker from CANAINPA developed new formulations using US dehydrated potato products, which were very interesting to the participants. More than 50 participants attended this seminar, and a local TV channel even covered the event. The seminar focused on the benefits of using dehy in the bakery industry and provided a hands-on opportunity for the bakers to see the benefits.
US POTATOES HIGHLIGHTED AT FESTIVAL OF US INGREDIENTS FOR THE MEXICAN BAKERY INDUSTRY