Potato Weekly - 12 June 2020

Friday, 12 June 2020

At a glance

  • Free buy demand across all sectors this week seems lacklustre, with all sectors reporting to have been very quiet in general. There is a belief among many that the successive weeks of good weather have curbed consumer demand for potatoes in general.
  • The chipping sector seemed to have plateaued on last week. However, we have heard reports that trade is down on the week due to the nationwide opening of fast-food outlets. Takeaway options available are now more diverse for the consumer.
  • Continued rainfall across the UK this week has been welcomed for the development of crops, with further rainfall expected in the coming days. However, some areas of the country are still very dry, particularly the Midlands and South East.

Anthony Speight

Analyst Potatoes & Cereals and Oilseeds

Market Commentary

Earlies

  • Indications for prices of early potatoes in Cambridgeshire, including M Bard had dropped this week. Prices now sit around £15-£16 per 25kg bag.
  • Similarly, reports suggest prices in the South have also dropped this week, with Rocket and M Peer reaching up to approximately £750/t for retail trade. In the bag trade these varieties are reaching up to around £720/t, but there is a large range in the prices due to subdued demand for earlies.
  • Prices are suggested slightly stronger in the Essex region, around £18 per 25kg bag.
  • The demand this year certainly seems to be affected by the coronavirus outbreak and the change in shopper activity, along with a lack of pubs and restaurants.
  • There has been a number of reports that next week could see some trial lifting of second earlies.

Packing

  • Demand appears to have declined week-on-week, with many reporting it is extremely quiet for the time of the year.
  • Top quality M Piper is still able to fetch a premium, despite lacklustre free-buy demand this week. Best quality supplies are difficult to source in large tonnages however.
  • Continued high demand for vegetable boxes is supporting demand for the retail sector, as witnessed throughout the pandemic.

Bags

  • There has been reports that chip shops in coastal areas that are able to get the footfall for day trippers have opened. However, the recent wet weather has not supported coastal demand.
  • The opening of fast food outlets nationwide is reported to have hit the chip shop trade, with many in the bag industry reporting to have been very quiet.
  • There have been several anecdotal reports of stores that are nearly cleared out of 2019 crop. Some chipping varieties have now become tougher to source.

Processing

  • Contracted material has mostly satisfied demand this week, with processors reporting to be well stocked.
  • Over the coming weeks there is anticipation that processing trade may pick up, as the UK lifts lockdown restrictions.

Exports

  • No prices to report this week for exports, however, there has been anecdotal reports of exports to Northern Ireland.

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