Potato Weekly - 31 July 2020

Friday, 31 July 2020

At a glance

  • Trade across all sectors this week remains very lacklustre, with pricing described as a “race to the bottom” by many within the trade.
  • Increased supply and subdued demand largely dictating price as many counties across the UK continue digging the early crop.
  • Earlies crop across all sectors reported to be in good condition and yielding reasonably well.

Charlie Reeve

Trainee Analyst

Market Commentary

Packing

  • Free-buy trade has picked up slightly compared to last week, but majority remains on contract.
  • The supply of new-crop is putting increasing pressure on current prices, especially for new-crop Marfona. Relatively low levels of demand are being outweighed by this growing increase in supply.
  • Crop conditions are generally good and coming through at a decent yield.
  • Price reductions have been reported in some regions. There is a level of uncertainty of where the market will move going forward.

Bags

  • Coastal trade is seeing a slight uptick as people make the most of their summer breaks. However, pricing within the bag trade is extremely subdued.
  • The general public remains cautious; consumer confidence isn’t there with many eat-in restaurants remaining quiet.
  • The bag trade is severely under pressure, with many people cautious to go out. Increased consumer confidence is key to re-energise this trade. Many growers now reporting selling their potatoes at a loss.

Processing

  • Contracted material makes up most of the current market trade for processing.
  • Closure of schools will reduce demand for processing further during summer months. Hopefully, this will be relatively short lived with schools and universities aiming to reopen more extensively from September onwards.
  • Demand remains lacklustre for pubs and restaurants at present but there is some optimism within the industry that the introduction of food vouchers in August could help.
  • Some demand does remain for supermarket products and ready meals.

Exports

  • Some export trade reported to Northern Ireland and Belgium.
  • A surplus of potatoes on the continent has been reducing demand for exports, which are generally lower compared to this time last year. The continent is following the same trends in the UK in terms of impacts from coronavirus. With demand for the processing sector diminished, the need for exports is also reduced.

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