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AHDB releases potato supply and demand estimates for Britain

Since lockdown measures were imposed in Britain in March of this year, uncertainty over the forward demand profile of potato markets has grown and grown, says Senior Analyst at AHDB, Alice Bailey.

AHDB has pieced together its opinion on current and future supply and demand profiles to begin a wider discussion on the forward profile of potato markets. Key points are in the article below.

“We will constantly review and update as new information becomes available and circumstances change,” says Alice Bailey, author of the report.


  • 2019/20 total availability is estimated at 2.21Mt, including total domestic production and imported fresh potatoes. This could potentially increase to 2.35Mt in 2020/21.
    • 2020/21 production is forecast to rise based on a 5% planted area increase and 3-year average yields.
  • Total domestic consumption is predicted back slightly for 2019/20 compared to 2018/19 based on a considerable drop in requirement of fresh potatoes by the food service sector outweighing the rise in retail demand.
    • The 2020/21 food service estimate is that there will be a continued drop in demand but uses a base of a 4-year average.


  • A drop in total availability of processing material is expected in 2019/20 following a significant drop in imported material.
  • A drop in demand is also expected in 2019/20 with the food service sector expecting to have dropped demand significantly for the final quarter of the season. Again the expected rise in demand from the retail sector for processed products is outweighed by the drop from food service.
    • There is a continued expectation of loss in demand into the 2020/21 season with retail potentially moving back to more “normal” levels and foodservice still being hit by recessional shopping behaviours even if places are able to reopen.

Chipping and fresh bags

  • Total availability in the chipping and fresh bags sector for 2020/21 could see an increase is average yields are achieved despite a potential marginal cut back in planted area.
  • Domestic consumption and export trade is expected to be down for the 2019/20 season on the back of the cut back in chip shop trade when lockdown first began.
    • It is expected the trade could remain slow for the remainder of the 2019/20 season but may pick up slightly in the 2020/21 season although likely to be more so towards the end of season.

Future impact on markets

What could the future holds and where are changes likely to happen? To compliment these balance sheets we have also produced a forward look on how markets coud change and potential pinch points for market sectors.

Source: AHDB Potatoes

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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