Belfast Telegraph

Tayto can still supply customers when it comes to the crunch

By Gerald Lennon

Crisps giant Tayto has said it is well prepared for Northern Ireland's unusually warm weather despite supply fears expressed by rivals.

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The firm, which is based in Tandragee, Co Armagh, has been supplying the region with their famous snacks for 60 years.

A spokeswoman said the company ensured security of supply all year round by storing extra potatoes in case of emergency.

It had already planned for growth in demand during the World Cup. The spokeswoman said: "By contracting for annual volumes, we have the security of supply, flexibility and quality to ensure we can produce the best quality crisps throughout the year.

"After harvesting in the late summer and autumn our potatoes are stored in the temperature-controlled environment of our purpose-built potato stores."

But she added that the company hopes to see some rain soon.

"Like our farming colleagues we would welcome some controlled rainfall to give this year's crop the best chance."

Northern Ireland's crisping potatoes are typically harvested between late August and Halloween.

The spokeswoman added: "We use several specialist potato varieties which are sourced from farmer growers, many of whom have generations of experience in growing these varieties in different conditions.

"Extreme weather can impact on the yield and quality of the potato harvest, as does potential disease. However, our experienced growers have techniques to deal with extremes - such as cold, wet and also the hot, dry conditions we are currently experiencing."

Potatoes thrive in warmer weather but can stop growing once they reach temperatures of 25C. With the heatwave reaching temperatures as high as 30C, it has caused concern for the farming community.

Tayto Group sources all its potatoes within the British Isles. But the spokeswoman said that in extreme cases, it had a Plan B - using European suppliers. "However, this is a less favourable solution," she added.

Belfast Telegraph