How your levy funds potato market and EU exit information

Helping British potato growers to grow.

The information you need, when you need it. An average of £0.5m of levy funding per year over the last three years has supported delivering information to help you make business decisions. We are the only source of statistics on potato production, area and stocks in Great Britain. We provide weekly price updates and analysis on key markets drivers both domestically, in Europe and global markets.

See also:

How your levy funds marketing, education and export development

Potatoes: what do I get for my levy?

Weekly prices, and reports on planted area, lifting, production and stocks

No other provider has as robust data validation processes as AHDB to ensure the prices we quote, via our emails and Farmers Weekly and Guardian, are representative of the market – we cover over 1.5 million tonnes of first purchase potatoes through our weekly calls.

As well as our price information we provide regular reports that are relied upon by growers, buyers and industry alike. We lead and provide the industry with in-depth analysis of domestic market trends. This past year we have covered a range of topics from production forecasts, balance sheet estimates and sector analysis to the impact of coronavirus on markets. All of our analysis can be found on our market insight pages.

1.5M. tonnes of.

Weekly price information

Published as a Weekly Average Price Survey (WAPS) on a Tuesday and with a more detailed analysis of free-buy prices by sector, and analysis of news and market drivers on Friday in Potato Weekly.

Why do we do it?

The survey is independent, impartial and a key industry benchmark and indicator of long-term price trends.

How is it used?

From a grower point of view the survey is used to look at the overall trend in potato prices from one period to the next. The data is also used by NFU, BPTA and others to inform lobbying and government. The WAPS price also acts as a central point of contract price setting for the trade.

What’s the impact?

The WAPS survey and Potato Weekly are sent out each week via email and are viewed over 20,000 times per month. Without the survey, the industry would lose one if its only sources of independent price information.

AHDB Potato Lifting Report

Timed to cover the main-crop lifting period of Oct-Dec and review the progress of lifting, yield estimates and reports on crop quality and wastage on both a regional and sector basis.

Why do we do it?

We are the only providers of impartial updates on the progress of lifting, without them there would be no independent view on progress.

How is it used?

The information is used to understand the national progress of lifting and quality against the challenges being posed by unfavourable weather. Growers can use it to understand how the supply situation will play out for the season and subsequently impact price - this was especially important in the wet lifting year in 2019.

What’s the impact?

The lifting reports are published in potato weekly and are viewed online, each report has seen multiple press articles cover the latest information from Farmers Weekly to The Grocer.

National figures – area, production, stocks

We produce a range of key national figures each year to help inform the potato industry. The planted area, which is based on information from the Levy Planting Returns, is broken down by region, market sector and variety giving the first indication of supply for the current season. The Grower Panel, a group of potato growers who provide vital information on their crop, help us to produce the national production, yield and stocks figures.

Why do we do it?

The AHDB industry estimates are the only independent source of information regarding the supply of potatoes each season on a GB level split down by region and sector.

How are they used?

These figures are used to understand the availability of potatoes at a domestic level and how this might influence pricing movements.

What’s the impact?

These figures are available on our website with the key findings and associated market analysis published in Potato Weekly. In addition, this information is picked up and report by the farming press.

Market update: December 2020

Supporting your business through the impact of Coronavirus on the Potato Sector

During the Coronavirus pandemic we have ensured that you have the latest information as markets change rapidly. We provided evidence on the evolving coronavirus impact helped make sense of unprecedented shifts in purchasing patterns.

This included:

  • A vital estimate of the stocks of potatoes intended for fish and chip shops as we went into lockdown - this was used by the NFU and other trade associations to lobby MPs to support the sector

  • During the first lockdown we provided weekly updates on spending on potatoes at retail and food service

  • Bespoke and in-depth reports including our recent work looking at how the pandemic affected each sector of the potato market

Visit our page Coronavirus: support for potato growers

Case study: Coronavirus potato trading portal

In the summer we launched a potato trade portal to help growers who had lost their market find new buyers. It saw 430 loads traded – close to £0.75M worth.

As new season crop came on to the market, we switched the portal to help find non-food markets for surplus potatoes - such as AD plant operators.

Providing information on how Brexit could impact the potato sector

The policy and economics team work across all sectors, including potatoes, to develop insight in to the changing policy environment. Looking at both domestic policy as well as developments in the trading landscape and how this might impact farmers.

We produce regular articles as well as longer report style work, under the AHDB horizon, banner which looks in depth at the policy and trade issue facing levy payers. We delved into the specific issues surrounding the potato sector in our Brexit prospects for UK potato trade report.

There is also a business impact calculator and other tools on our EU exit pages.

Email a question on EU Exit to our policy team

Webinar recording: Potatoes and Brexit - what you need to know

Retail and consumer analysis

Understanding the consumer

We want the UK food supply chain, from farm to fork, to understand the needs of modern food consumers and that their attitudes toward cooking, buying and eating are important considerations for the whole supply chain.

This means we want you as farmers, growers, retailers and processors to be as well informed about consumer behaviours and retail trends as possible, so we can create a world-class domestic and export food industry.

We invest your levy in detailed retail and food service data, while our own team of experts analyse this and other emerging trends to provide you with the information you need.

83% of attendees to a recent potatoes consumer insight webinar said it improved their knowledge and 73% said they would or potentially could make a business change as a result

Watch the webinar - A changing market landscape: coronavirus and potatoes