Potato Weekly - 22 May 2020

Friday, 22 May 2020

At a glance

  • Free-buy trade has mostly been pretty steady for most. The chipping and processing sectors are generally reporting high volume of supply not being met by demand.
  • Frost damage from last week is coming to light, with many crops reported to be pushed back 1-2 weeks in development. Frost is likely to have had some effect on yields of early crops, but at this stage it is hard to judge by how much.
  • Lifting of new crop seems to be going well, although for some conditions are too dry.
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Alice Bailey

Senior Analyst Potatoes

Market Commentary


  • Many packers are still able to utilise contracted material to cover much of the demand. Now retail trade has settled, there is less need for free-buy.
  • For those supplying mixed boxes for wholesale or delivery box jobs, demand remains strong.
  • Chipping and processing material is still making its way onto the packing market where skin finish and MRL’s allow.
  • Prices for top quality material are still holding firm, despite the demand easing to a more consistent level.
  • Demand for good quality M Piper remains strong.


  • The bag trade seems to have reached a plateau. Demand is reported as unchanged on the week.
  • There are increasing reports of more chip shops opening, although many are running reduced hours to make it economically viable.
  • As more chip shops open, the take-out demand is shared. The reopening of other take-out’s in the forthcoming weeks could disperse consumer demand.
  • For demand to grow, there is a need for coastal trade to kick start. Currently demand is subdued there due to lockdown measures, when this weather would usually bring plentiful trade for seaside regions.


  • Although there is some demand for free-buy peeling material this week, much of the processing trade remains under contract at present.
  • The slow reopening of parts of the food service industry could support some increased movement of processing stocks. However, the high volume of stocks still in grower ownership at the end of March, coupled with a complete lack of demand throughout April and only marginal increases in demand through May, will continue to pressure the market.
  • Opening of more take-out options may assist in movement of processing material, but could reduce demand from chip shops as consumers gain more choice.


  • A range of material has been moving to both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

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