The AHDB in the UK is set to launch a marketing tool to help shift surplus potato stocks caused by a drop-off in demand since the Covid-19 lockdown. Food service sector demand for potatoes collapsed when the measures forced the closure of commercial outlets such as restaurants and many chip shops, reports Jonathan Riley for Farmers Weekly.
AHDB Potatoes strategy director Rob Clayton estimated that food service sector demand was about 90% below normal levels. This has caused a surplus of potato stocks in stores across England. The latest figures (7 May) put the surplus at about 150,000t, down from a peak of about 200,000t at the end of March.
To help move some of the surplus, the AHDB has set up a website, to be launched next week once final security testing has been completed. “The aim is to provide a matchmaking service between growers with surpluses in their stores and potential buyers,” explained Mr Clayton.
Growers will be able to advertise what stocks they have in terms of quality and variety and how many trailer loads are available, he said. In addition, the grower can set out what assurance schemes are adhered to and what treatments have been applied to the stocks.
At the same time, merchants, or other outlets looking for stocks, can post what demands they have.