Potato Weekly - 29 May 2020

Friday, 29 May 2020

At a glance

  • Free-buy trade seems relatively flat across all sectors compared to last week.
  • The packing sector remains the dominant sales avenue, but there has been a marginal uptick in chipping.
  • Irrigation is in full swing for those with access as the sunshine and hot weather continues to bake soils.
  • Strong winds last weekend caused some crop damage, especially forward crops and also those on light land.
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Alice Bailey

Senior Analyst Potatoes

Market Commentary

Packing

  • Packing trade is relatively steady this week. Free-buy material is not needed on a large scale.
  • Retail volumes are described as flat. Some have even seen a slight draw back from previous weeks.
  • Wholesale trade or sales for veg boxes remains strong.
  • There remains a wide spread in prices based on quality and end customer.
  • The Scottish median prices' have moved up week-on-week. This is due to last week’s low end samples now dropping out of grade 1 and either heading for secondary packing jobs or processing. High end prices remain strong for premium packing jobs staying in Scotland.

Bags

  • Every week we are hearing of more chip shops opening their doors. However, these are still only running at reduced capacity and for takeaway only.
  • There is talk of a slight rise in demand this week for chipping material compared to previous weeks. This still remains significantly down on where it would be expected for the time of year though.
  • The bag trade is still awaiting a boost from coastal regions. It is difficult to predict when this trade could return under current circumstances.

Processing

  • Demand on the peeling front remains, but at low levels. Some material originally destined for French fries is moving into this sector of processing.
  • An announcement from McDonalds this week, that all drive throughs are scheduled to reopen next week, should hopefully help move some more processing material out of stores.
  • There is optimism that this announcement will encourage other similar outlets to reopen.
  • It is important to note though, that a significant amount of the processing area is grown under contract. Therefore such outlets will not necessarily result in an increase in free-buy movement. Nevertheless, it will hopefully help to get processing material moved out of store.

Exports

  • A range of material continues to move into both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

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