Frédéric Champion, Solpom:

Rungis: Surge in the price of firm flesh potatoes on the morning of March 15th

It is a peculiar time for fruit and vegetables. Many products currently on the market are sold at “record prices”. Onions, for example, are selling for twice as much as last year at the same time. “From the start of the campaign, we knew that we would have very few large sizes for this season, due to the high temperatures and lack of rainfall. In France, we indeed have a majority of small sizes and the shortage of large onions is also felt across Western Europe. This means that onions are currently sold at very high prices,” explains Frédéric Champion of Solpom.

The season of storage onions will end prematurely in the coming weeks
The onion market is so tense that small sizes, which are usually downgraded, are currently selling at the same price as large sizes. “The lack of product could lead to a premature end to the campaign in late spring. This is a worrying situation, as the new onion will not enter the market until late spring. We have already resorted to import onions, which contributes to the price increase.”

Despite this drastic price increase, consumption continues to be fluid. “The demand is always good. Generally speaking, as soon as the product becomes scarce, it is in demand. We thought clients would not buy as much because of the high prices, but this is not the case at all.”

Potato market on the rise
Regarding potatoes, another basic consumer product, the situation is not as marked as for the onions. The market is starting to feel the effects of the lack of large calibers. “We expect a shortage of large potatoes due to the drought. The supply is now clearly going down, to the point that our main supplier is having trouble finding any.”

Impact on the visual quality of potatoes
This situation is made even worse by the lower visual quality of the potatoes. “We are running out of beautiful potatoes so there is a panic in terms of prices. As far as the firm flesh varieties are concerned, we had a price surge on the morning of March 15th due to a scarcity of visually attractive products. The drought has increased the appearance of scab, which does not affect the organoleptic qualities of the potatoes but definitely impacts their visual quality. This inevitably forces us to downgrade them. We have also received the first new crop potatoes from Israel which are beautiful so far in terms of appearance.”

For more information:
Frédéric Champion

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