Post-Christmas trade across the week is described as lacklustre for most sectors, although many added that this would be anticipated for this time of the year. Packers have remained busy this week although a lot of the throughput is covered by contracted supply. Stakeholders are waiting to see what impact the latest lockdown measures, introduced on Tuesday, will have on demand.
Trade in the packing sector is strong in comparison to others.
This said, many packers are busy working with contracted supplies. This is particularly evident in Whites trade, with demand focus on Maris Piper.
Based on the first lockdown, retail demand is likely to see strong sales and we could see a return to increased scratch cooking again. King Edwards are in tight supply now, with those trading them paying a premium. However, due to reduced quotes we are unable to publish any prices.
Bags trade is reportedly very quiet this week. Although, this is partly in line with seasonal trends. Fish and chip shops are better prepared to deal with Covid measures than in the first lockdown and are likely to remain open. However, there are some anxieties that the new mobility restrictions may hamper footfall. The vaccine roll out is key to the bags trade. Seasonal trends usually see uplifts from early spring onwards, with tourists visiting coastal regions.
Usually top-up orders would be expected following the Christmas rush. However, this year it’s been described as “quiet” due to a slower Christmas for many. Closure of schools earlier in the week has caused some headaches with some customers now overstocked having prepared for a return of students. This, coupled with complete closure of all dine-in establishments, has left many processing supplies with limited options. As with the first lockdown, processed potato products will likely remain in demand through retail avenues, but this will only marginally fill the gaps from the losses seen in food service.
Many food outlets are better set up for takeaway services now, allowing some trade to continue.
There has been demand for exports to the Canary Islands, although shipping complications seem to have ground movement to a halt for most this week. There is hope that ships will sail again next week, allowing trade to continue. Trade with Ireland and Northern Ireland has been somewhat complicated since the end of the transition period. There have been portside issues, causing many exporters to act with caution so far.