UK: Potato prices remain stable, demand not meeting supply

Potato prices have remained largely stable on the week. New-crop has started to enter most markets, particularly seen in the chipping sector.

Concerns remain over potential surplus stocks from 2019/20 season. The easing of lockdown restrictions has provided some support. However, demand within the food service sector is taking time to bounce back to pre-coronavirus levels, with cautious consumers and social distancing measures in place.

The rain this week has continued to support crop development for most. There are reports of growers holding off lifting in some regions, as the market continues to be largely well supplied.

This week has been described as a transition week for some. There are increased reports of digging new crops this week, or at the start of next week.

There are anecdotal reports of pockets of good old-crop still around. However, more move to make the full transition to the 2020 crop from next week.

However demand across all sectors remains lacklustre, bringing downward pressure to new-crop prices.

Prices in the East this week vary depending on end market. New-crop chipping material is fetching between £200/t - £300/t for varieties such as Accord, Daisy, Maris Bard, Maris Piper, Miranda and Sagitta.
Prices in the West continue to be pressured for Accord, with quotes ranging from £160/t – £220/t.

In the South trade is described as very subdued. With many consumers still predominantly staying at home, bag trade is reportedly down in Cornwall and Devon.

Free-buy markets remain quiet, with the majority of trade taking place on contracts. Steady trade all round, with this reflected in the prices. More of an uplift in trade midweek onwards.

Demand is not meeting the current supply as more grower’s undertake lifting. Footfall in coastal areas is noted to be down, and not as high as anticipated as the British public remains cautious and social distancing measures remain.

Peeling sector remains lacklustre, with many schools and food service sectors still closed or operating at a reduced capacity. Contract trade continues to outweigh free-buy considerably.

We are unable to publish an export price this week due to lack of trade. However, we have anecdotally heard of trickles of export trade into Ireland.

Source: AHDB

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