Potato Weekly - 18 December 2020

'Better level of demand for potatoes than in November'

With a week to go now until Christmas Day, the majority of contributors have reported a better level of demand than in November. Export markets for frying and packing material have been busy ahead of a potential ‘no-deal’ EU exit.

There is some regional differences with the variation between tiers. Following yesterday’s tier changes, some tier 2 regions moving to tier 3 could see a slight drop in demand from foodservice as further restrictions apply.

Packers have been busy with retail demand in the midst of Christmas consumer buying, although much of this has been on contract. Some retail demand is expected to continue into early next week as more consumers gear up for Christmas. High quality represents the main point for demand.

Some fry quality issues have been reported this week in chipping, though this is most evident in samples lifted in wet conditions.


  • Moving closer to Christmas has brought some demand to packing markets. Contracted material forms the lion’s share of movement for supply though.
  • As such, contracted material has been moving well to packing markets, with purchasers stocking up for Christmas.
    This weekend and early into next week could see further rises in demand, with most consumers starting to purchase vegetables and other perishables for Christmas dinner.
    With London now placed under tier 3 restrictions, some wholesale demand into the capital has fallen, with hospitality trade using up stock ahead of closures.
  • Yesterday’s announcement of more regions moving into tier 3 could impact any wholesale demand in those regions too from this weekend.





  • Trade has picked up for some, whilst remaining stand on from last week for others. Those who have seen an improvement in demand are mostly found in tier 1 and 2 areas. Demand remains below levels reported last year for all regions though.
  • Fry colour issues have been reported in some samples this week. Prices for better quality material haven’t seen major support, owing to lower levels of demand seen in chipping markets.
  • Ware markets have seen slight rises as a result of Christmas demand finding its way into Farm Shop jobs. Prices too have increased as a result.






  • An increase in processing supplies moving to export markets, especially Ireland, is noted this week (see export prices).
  • Now that harvest is over, prices have seen slight support from the removal of ‘freshly lifted’ supplies that were moving straight to markets.
  • Domestic requirements are generally covered by contracts though, with a reduction in foodservice demand due to varying levels of restrictions across the country.


  • As the UK approaches the last couple of weeks before the end of the EU exit period, exports have continued to increase with purchasers stocking up ahead of a potential ‘no-deal’.
  • As things stand, without third country equivalence granted to the UK, ware and seed potatoes will not be able to move into the EU or Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021.
  • Availability of haulage is reportedly tight, with all industries busy ahead of EU exit and the Christmas holiday period. It has been said by many that this is a limiting factor on the export job.



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