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A shift in market requirements for the British potato industry

In light of the coronavirus outbreak reaching the UK in January 2020 there has been significant development, ultimately changing the way the potato industry has been functioning. At first, the changes were slow but once the government started enforcing stricter guidelines things quickly changed, says AHDB in the UK in a news report end of the past week.

Overall traded volumes jumped up from the week commencing 8th March with the increased retail demand offsetting drops from food-service.
This could be short lived with many customers likely to be well-stocked and potential for retail requirements to drop back to more normal levels. This would mean the effects of a drop in food-service will more likely be felt.

From the week commencing 8th March, volumes of potatoes traded started to ramp up. The weekly average price survey (WAPS) showed a week-on-week rise of 20% in the overall volume of potatoes traded from ex-farm and has since remained relatively stable. The big shift, was what sector the volumes were moving through.

AHDB analysts say they have seen a huge increase in the retail demand for potatoes which has seemingly offset the drop off in food service requirements. With many restaurants and food outlets being forced to close their doors it is no surprise that this sector has shrunk in the potato industry.

This poses the question of what volumes of potatoes were grown and are available for the required markets? With fresh chip and significant amounts of French fries volumes not required anymore, could we see a shift in the movement of potatoes initially destined for these markets into other sectors?

Read the full AHDB report here
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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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