Spud's life: the lifecycle of the humble potato

New Albert Bartlett short film captures spuds from seed to fork and aims to educate consumers on how to reduce food waste

A fast motion film demonstrating the 200-day lifespan of British-grown potatoes has been released by Albert Bartlett for Stop Food Waste Day -- which took place yesterday, on 27th April.

The short film is intended to educate people on the time, care, and resources that go into growing and farming the potatoes that end up in our kitchen cupboards, in our pots and on our plates. It is hoped that this will help discourage Brits from unnecessarily wasting potatoes which are still good to eat. For reference, potatoes are the most wasted food in the UK every year by weight -- with around 4 and a half million spuds being throw out every week!

The film, shot over the course of 12 months, takes the viewer on an educational journey, from seed to fork. The clip kicks off at one of the Perthshire farms growing for Albert Bartlett with spring planting, which has to be in dry soil, cleared of stones, before tonnes of seed potatoes are planted. Summer growth is next up, until eventually the stems are removed and we see the autumn harvest take place before the potatoes are transported from the fields to the Albert Bartlett factory. It’s here where the potatoes are washed in rainwater collected from the roof, carefully inspected, packed and despatched to stores.

Albert Bartlett hopes that the film will open the nation’s eyes to the long process involved in putting potatoes on people’s plates and will urge them to reconsider when reaching for the bin.

Michael Jarvis, Head of Marketing at Albert Bartlett, added: “The nation loves potatoes, that much is obvious, but not a lot of people truly understand the love, care and time involved in growing them. We created the footage to educate consumers on the process from start to finish – from seed to fork. In turn, we hope this will encourage people to take better care of their potatoes to help reduce waste. To you it may just be a potato but to us it’s a labour of love. We really hope our film captures that!”

Stop Food Waste Day is about educating and igniting change in the fight against wasted food. Albert Bartlett is keen for people to do their bit at home and has provided some tips on how to reduce waste, from cooking to planting...

Did you know?

  • Despite the hard exterior potatoes do bruise easily, so please handle with care.

  • You can actually freeze your potatoes from fresh but you need to blanch first. Boil them whole for 4 or 5 minutes, then let them cool. If the potatoes have been fully cooked, you can also freeze any leftovers (though the texture of homemade mashed potato may be altered as the mash can become more watery after defrosting). We’d recommend popping the potatoes in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag once they’ve cooled.

  • You can cut off sprouts and plant to create a potato plant.

When to eat, when to plant and when is acceptable to chuck!

  • Normal potato (cook and enjoy)

  • Slightly sprouted potato (remove eyes and sprouts, cook and enjoy)

  • Slightly more sprouted potato (as above, still good)

  • Very heavily sprouted potato (do not eat, plant!)

  • Potato which has elements of green (throw away into the food waste bin)

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