UK: Potato packing prices have remained consistently low week-on-week

Contracted material has accounted for the vast majority of trade taking place over the last week. Free-buy markets remain lacklustre overall.
An increasing volume of potatoes are being lifted nationwide, with the weather remaining “helpful” in most regions.

Purchasers are honouring contracts before looking for potatoes elsewhere, and free-buy markets are feeling the impact of this on their price.

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Packing
Packing prices have remained consistently low week-on-week. There are some reports of growers favouring lifting into storage whilst prices remain low, in anticipation of better returns later in the season.

Lack of farmer selling may help to support prices slightly in the short term, but total availability of supply in contrast to current demand is still likely to hold prices down.

Reports of bruising in the packing sector are causing issues in some regions.

Bags
There is growing uncertainty from purchasers around the potential for stricter nationwide lockdown measures. Subsequently, some tonnages bought are in lower volumes to help minimise the financial exposure of closing their fish and chip shops once again.

School half term holidays should look to instil some better levels of demand in chipping markets. However, repeat orders are a common occurrence now.

With cereal harvests out of the way for many, an increase in the movement of chipping supplies has been reported this week. Conditions are favourable for lifting to continue.

There have been some quality issues reported, with a prevalence of bruising and greens due to the dry sunny weather impacting soil moisture levels.

Processing
The processing trade is benefitting slightly from some uplift in schools returning at the lower end of the market, although trade is yet to return to previous levels with many schools still opting for packed lunches.
High quality peeling potatoes are fetching slight premiums over lower grade material.

Export
High volumes of trade to the Canary Islands remain week-on-week. Whilst the median has dropped back slightly, high end material continues to fetch better prices.


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