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Potato Weekly: Standstill in Britain’s chipping market; growers trying to make planting decisions

In this week’s Potato Weekly report, issued yesterday by AHDB Potatoes, analyst Adian Wright writes that trade in the chipping market is at almost a complete standstill as most chip shops remain closed across the UK amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

Meanwhile, another week of good weather nationwide has meant that for many, planting of potatoes has continued at pace, but the uncertainty of how long certain markets may be unavailable is hanging over some growers who are trying to make planting decisions.

There could be a change in shopper behaviour going forward as the government pushes for people to shop only when essential, and less often at that. This could result in a drop in shopper frequency, but potentially a rise in basket size.

There is some optimism surrounding the requirement for packing material going forward to remain relatively firm, but with more potatoes potentially available that were originally destined for other uses, prices could see pressure.

With the majority of chip shops currently closed, sales of chipping material are extremely limited. The National Federation of Fish Fryers announced last week that they were advising all shops to close aside from businesses that were able to safely operate a delivery service in line with government guidelines and advice. The numbers of chip shops offering these services is currently limited. Overall trade largely at a standstill, with no quotes received for material sold for frying at all this week.

There are still concerns surrounding staff in processing factories and the potential for staff to have to self-isolate. Hygiene protocols are strict on sites as a matter of course, but there is the potential for a lack of staff available to work.

Go here to read the full Potato Weekly report (3 April)

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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