Potato Weekly - 09 April 2020

Thursday, 9 April 2020

At a glance 

  • Free-buy trade has remained relatively subdued across all sectors.
  • Retail demand is generally described as flat this week, as we saw a slight drop last week from the previous highs.
  • There are reports that some fish and chip shops are looking to reopen and offer a counter service, using a pre-order system, in order to abide social distancing measures. Also some say that more are attempting a delivery service where possible.
  • Good weather has meant that growers have been able to continue ground work and planting at pace this week.
  • Some growers remain hesitant around planting their intended area with the uncertainty of market availability that currently stands.
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Alice Bailey

Senior Analyst Potatoes

Market commentary

Packing

  • Trade into the retail sector has remained subdued from a few weeks ago. The initial panic buying is now over, which has seen levels return to a more “normal” level for many.
  • It will take some time for shopper behaviour to adjust to the new “norm” and for the impact of this on retail sales to emerge.
  • There has been some frying varieties coming through the packing market as some growers seek other avenues for their material.
  • Movement of processing crop into retail must meet requirements surrounding CIPC and often require Red Tractor Assurance. Click here for more information on CIPC limits when moving sector.

Bags

  • There has been some reports of sales into both the chipping market and the ware market, but these are minimal.
  • Anecdotally we are hearing that some chip shops are reopening their doors to trial either a delivery service or a pre-order and collect service where possible.
  • The National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) said in last Fridays release that they are “encouraged that some shops are testing getting operations open whilst adhering to the strict social distancing that is required”. However, they also stressed reopening should only occur if the government guidelines could be strictly adhered to.
  • Ware trade has also remained steady this week, with a mix of traditional ware and chipping varieties moving in this way.

Processing

  • Processing trade has continued at minimal pace, with the loss of food service being felt across the sector.
  • The lower requirement for processing material, both peeling and French fries, is generally being adequately covered by contracted material. This is leaving little room for free-buy supplies.

Export

  • We have heard of small volumes still moving to the Canary Islands and Ireland.

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