Before the coronavirus crisis, potato supplies seemed to be in surplus. The crisis has boosted sales so much that, today, the balance is reversed. “For three weeks, the fresh potato market has been very dynamic, with a significant demand from our Spanish, French and Italian clients. This creates some pressure and prices go up,” explains Antoine Geysels of Top’Pom.
On the French market, the coronavirus has created an abnormally high demand. “Consumers have raided supermarkets. Packers have therefore greatly increased their daily volumes as well as their supplies, as a consequence.” According to Antoine, the same goes for export to Spain and Italy, two markets with significant needs. The border closures have not impacted the activity to those countries. “Food products are not affected by this restriction. However, it has become more difficult to export to some Eastern countries for logistical reasons.”
Besides transportation, the biggest challenge for the company today is to meet the demand for conservation potatoes on the French market until the early potatoes arrive. “This requires good reactivity from the producers, packers and their staff.”
Big impact on potatoes for the industry
The market of potatoes for the industry is heavily penalized by the health crisis. “Restaurants and collective catering facilities being closed during this lockdown period, they no longer get their supply from the processing factories. However, there is a renewal of interest for the different varieties of the fresh market because consumers, during lockdown, take the time to cook their potatoes.”
For Top’Pom, the closure of the open markets in France did not have much impact. “Our clients work almost exclusively with French supermarkets, and very little with small retail markets.”