Friday, 3 July 2020
At a glance
- Coronavirus continues to impede on demand across all sectors, with mixed reviews on what the effect the reopening of pubs and restaurants will have this weekend.
- Many old-crop contracts are being cleared up in the packing market and new-crop potato demand is also covered mostly on contract.
- Wet weather has continued to green crops up, but blight is becoming a concern for some due to showery, warm conditions.
- Increased lifting of Accord for the chipping market has been reported this week, although many crops are still a little immature. Most reports suggest that yields of Accord are down, with lower tuber numbers the cause.
- Demand remains lethargic for free-buy new-crop. It seems retailers are generally running off mostly contracted supply and chip shops generally experiencing quiet trade.
- Anecdotally there are reports of increased interest in new-crop chipping material. This comes as good quality, easy to work old-crop chipping material is becoming scarce. However, the perception of lots of remaining old-crop is pressuring prices.
- Accord this week has dropped, with highs of around £320/t being achieved at the beginning of the week in the South.
- Mid-week across the country, prices of £250-£280/t were common for Accord.
- However, this slipped further in the West to £200-£230/t.
- Competition in the chipping trade is tough, as more new-crop is lifted and fresh chip demand remains stagnant.
- There is a slight increase in Maris Peer available on the free-buy market this week, but demand is lacking a touch.
- Farm gate prices vary from around £300/t to £400/t depending on the end market available to the grower.
- In the South, generally prices are a little higher and earlier in the week reached in the region of £500/t for washed and graded cartons heading into the wholesale markets.
- There are whispers of early Maris Piper being lifted this week in the East, but at token levels.
- The rain, received in varying levels, may delay lifting for some to avoid muddy potatoes.
- Free-buy packing trade remains at low volumes.
- Good quality old-crop packing material is still able to reach a premium, but demand is generally flat.
- Bags trade has continued to be “uninspiring”.
- The perception that there is a lot of old-crop around is dragging new-crop prices down. However, good quality old-crop is actually described as being relatively tight and interest in new-crop is arising.
- With the potential for pub trade to take custom from the chip shops, demand has been described as slow as buyers don’t want to be sat on stocks this week.
- Old-crop contracts are still being utilised wherever possible, limiting the demand for free-buy supply.
- Until food-service and catering returns to normal, this is likely to be a continued theme. Unfortunately in the short to medium term these demand corridors are unlikely to return to normal, but will hopefully move in the right direction.
- Exports to Ireland are continuing, but remain in minimal volumes.
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