Potato Weekly - 09 October 2020

Friday, 9 October 2020

At a glance

  • Heavy rainfall across most of the country last weekend halted lifting for most growers at the start of the week.
  • Continued pressure from lockdown uncertainty hampers trade in both the bags and processing sectors.
  • By and large prices have remained stable on the week but remain below prices this time last year with the exception of Scottish Maris Piper.

Thomma Shepherd

Analyst

Market Commentary

Packing

  • Packing trade is quiet this week, with contracts utilised to cover demand.
  • Some small volumes of whites are moving as top-ups, but this is not required in any great volumes.
  • Maris Piper remains as the dominant variety, but even this is less sought after this week and volumes slightly reduced from last week.
  • English packing whites prices are up to £60/t less than the same time last year, with Scottish whites at a similar discount too.

Bags

  • The bags sector has felt the pinch further this week, with prices relatively stable but at reduced volumes.
  • Traded volumes are generally very low and maintain as repeat orders only.
  • The wet weather, coupled with uncertainty about local lockdown measures, has had a knock on effect on demand at fish and chip shops.
  • Much of the bag trade is described as “hand-to-mouth” purchasing. Shop owners are nervous of sitting on too much stock in case of increased lockdown measures being introduced, resulting in a further reduction in trade.
  • Compared to the same time last year, East and West chipping material prices are up to £30/t down and volumes are described as back on the year too.

Processing

  • Processing demand continues to be under pressure from the uncertainty surrounding the foodservice sector in the coming weeks.
  • Contracted material is covering the bulk of demand. That said, we have received more quotes for free-buy processing material this week, although in small volumes.
  • Free-buy peeling material is cheaper than the same time last year, when the median price for Maris Piper was £85/t.

Exports

  • Export trade to the Canary Islands continues this week. Better demand is seen for some with premiums for King Edwards being paid over other whites varieties.
  • The increased lockdown measures in Ireland have reduced trade this week to very minimal levels.

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