At-home consumption of potatoes was 14 per cent higher in the first nine months of 2020 compared to 2019, according to AHDB, which outweighed a 28 per cent drop in out-of-home sales.
That trend has been seen across the world with US and French retail potato sales up 10 per cent, while the closure of restaurants has led to at least a 15 per cent reduction in out-of-home sales.
Bakers are especially popular because of the winter weather, with significant premiums paid for King Edwards which are in scarce supply. Maris Pipers fetch up to £275/tonne in England and £190/t in Scotland, according to the AHDB, which is nearly twice the price of generic whites.
Although British fish and chip shops remain open, there are still reduced sales and English chipping potato prices are fetching £120/tonne, half what they were in late February last year before the start of the Covid-19 crisis. Major processors are paying £80/tonne for free-buy Maris Piper, although the open market only accounts for 10 per cent of sales in that sector.
Scottish, English and Welsh seed potato growers and traders are still reeling from the news that they will not be able to export to the EU, which will include sales to Northern Ireland, as part of the post-Brexit deal.
According to fpcfreshtalkdaily.co.uk, the UK exports £65 million in seed potatoes a year, mainly from Scotland, with a third shipped to the EU, plus extra volumes to Northern Ireland.
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