Lack of demand for new potato varieties is a real risk for the industry

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SCOTTISH breeder Caledonia Potatoes, which recently opened its doors to clients and potential clients to view its seed potato varieties, is urging retailers to offer a wider range of potatoes.

Director at Caledonia Potatoes Robert Doig said in a recent interview with Fresh Plaza that the time may have come for retailers to realise they can't compete with discounters on price so need to differentiate themselves by offering a wider range of potatoes, which creates an opportunity for new varieties

Caledonia Potatoes was created in July this year after demerging from The Caithness Group. It is working with the James Hutton Institute and Scottish Enterprise, on projects for new varieties. To develop a new variety Caledonian Potatoes will start out with 15,000-20,000 unique plants, which are whittled down over a number years until they are left with two or three which are deemed fit for market - a process which can take up to eight years. 

The potatoes are trialled at different sites in Scotland, England and abroad to see how they behave in different climates over a number of years. Caledonian Potatoes exports to Egypt, Israel, Spain Morocco and Canary Islands

Robert said there is always a trade off between time and money when it comes to how fast you develop a new variety.