Potato Weekly - 19 June 2020

Friday, 19 June 2020

At a glance

  • Free-buy demand across all sectors is generally reported down week on week.
  • Finding homes for lower quality potatoes across all sectors is becoming more difficult as many stakeholders within the industry cherry pick top quality supplies as we near the end of the 2019 season.
  • There are anxieties that some 2019 crop may end up “dumped” if unable to find a suitable home. This prolonged old-crop presence could continue to add pressure to the earlies market.
  • National rainfall, although in a degree of variation, has been welcomed by growers across GB to aid the development of the 2020 maincrop.
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Anthony Speight

Analyst Potatoes & Cereals and Oilseeds

Market Commentary

Earlies

  • Some growers are allegedly postponing lifting where possible due to the subdued demand for earlies as a result of the volume of 2019 crops remaining, especially in the bag trade.
  • Earlies prices in Essex reduced again week-on-week averaging around £13.50 per 25kg bag although M Bard is able to obtain a touch more.
  • In Cambridgeshire, prices are reported around £15-£16 per 25kg bag, which includes M Bard.
  • There is large variation in prices in the South and the West depending on the end market. Many are reported to be going into retail packing and with rain hindering some lifting, especially in the South, much of the movement is on contract.
  • Lifting in Shropshire and Cheshire is mostly still a couple of weeks off, with the frosts a few weeks ago pushing harvest back a little. This could help areas such as Pembrokeshire and Cornwall to clear some supplies in a relatively subdued market before the arrival of more earlies crops.
  • Early trade is still being described as slow for many, with shopper behaviour not in the usual trend and an increased volume of old-crop compared to normal.

Packing

  • Farm shop trade is reported down significantly this week, as consumers turn back to supermarkets as life is slowly starting to get back to normal.
  • Packing trade is reported as lacklustre at the moment. With much of the demand being fulfilled by contracted material.
  • Some supermarkets are said to be offering extended value pack lines in an attempt to shift excess potatoes.

Bags

  • Top quality supplies are becoming harder and harder to source with chip shops demanding material that is easy to work with. This will likely continue as shops work with reduced staff numbers.
  • Bag trade again is reported down with the opening of other fast food outlets, which offers greater choice for consumers.

Processing

  • Most processing supply is fulfilled on contract again, with the trade moving sideways on the week.
  • For the peeling sector, there is still a hole in the marketplace due to schools and workplace canteens remaining closed as well as cafés and pubs.

Export

  • Export trade has remained very quiet this week.
  • Small volumes of chipping material continue to move into Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

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