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UK: Retail demand for potatoes down slightly after lockdown and as panic buying eases

In the Friday March 27 issue of Potato Weekly, issued by AHDB Potatoes, it is said that anecdotal reports suggest that retail demand has started to lessen this week following the nationwide “lockdown” since Monday night. This has been suggested to be due to a reduction in panic buying as supermarkets introduce limits on purchasing. 

With the closure of non-essential shops such as eat-in restaurants, sales into foodservice have reportedly stalled, AHDB says in its report.

As the outbreak continues, an increasing number of industry staff could face self-isolation. This has the potential to result in staff shortages for factories, packhouses and hauliers.

With blue skies across much of the country this week, planting has resumed amidst ‘perfect conditions’ for some. Others are still challenged by the soil conditions following this winter’s wet weather. Although some are behind schedule, the warmer dry weather will provide welcomed relief for planters.

This week has seen packing prices ease slightly from the highs of last week, as panic buying behaviour eased. This being said supermarket demand for potatoes is still fairly strong as staff restock shelves as quickly as possible.

With customers having stocked up over the past few weeks we could see a slight dip in demand until consumers use their purchases, AHDB Potatoes says. Anecdotal reports suggest that some packers are pulling April contracts forward, to help meet demand.

Exports to the Canary Islands have reportedly almost drawn to a halt this week, as the coronavirus pandemic reduces tourist visits to the country. There has been very minimal trade with Ireland reported this week.

Read the full Potato Weekly report here

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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