CU LTIVATION AND TECHNOLOGY Washed table potatoes share in Spanish supermarkets is growing ‘All the table potatoes we receive here are delivered in “big bags”’, says agronomist José Vincente Doria. water purification installation. ‘By cleaning the washing water, we reduce our impact on the environment and we save considerably on the cost of the expensive water’, says Doria laughingly. Responding quickly to trends At the washing machine, technical staff member Ruben talks enthusiastically about the smart construction of the line. ‘At the beginning of the season, when the potato skin is not yet firm, we can only wash them and we skip the brushing machine after the washer’, he says. ‘Because our washer has also been developed and tested with the electronic potato which checks for vulnerabilities, it’s excellent for washing delicate products. This means that Aquilar can wash the early harvest without quality problems’, adds Kortebos. Gascó says that he likes to collaborate with Dutch manufacturers’. ‘We’ve switched from ProPak washers and Botman clod and stone separators, which worked well for twenty years, to a Tummers installation. In the six months that the installation has now been running, we’ve not yet had any problems. The capacity of the new washer is much larger than the old one’, he says with satisfaction. The reason why Aguilar has invested in a new washing installation has to do with the rapidly changing consumption pattern in Spain. ‘Consumers don’t have much time and are looking for more convenience in the preparation of a meal. You see this trend towards convenience not only with potatoes. The share of pre-cut vegetables and salads is also increasing on the supermarket shelves’, explains Gascó. ‘A practical development we have to respond to is the fast cooking potato. This shouldn’t take more time than preparing a salad.’ To meet this requirement, Aquilar has successfully introduced a range of microwave potatoes. Organic market increases Clean, washed potatoes all year round with, from left to right: Hein Kortebos, Ruben, Francisco Gascó and José Vincente Doria. Gascó points out that the Spanish potato market still has a fifty-fifty distribution 40 Potato World 2019 • number 2 Pagina 39

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