At the 2023 Potato Business Summit earlier this year, Cedric Porter, the editor of World Potato Markets, offered a comprehensive overview of the European and global potato market dynamics. Broadcasting from the UK, Porter shared insights that have been shaping the potato industry in Europe.
A video of the presentation can be watched on the United Potato Growers of America’s YouTube channel. Potato News Today provides a brief summary of the presentation below.
The last few years have seen Europe grappling with the effects of COVID-19. However, as the pandemic’s grip loosens, two new challenges have emerged: war and extreme weather conditions. These factors have contributed to Europe producing its smallest potential potato crop ever, from its smallest area of cultivation.
Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, and the UK are the powerhouses of potato production in Europe, accounting for nearly 70% of the EU’s output. These nations also dominate the processing industry, with Belgium and the Netherlands leading the charge.
Despite the challenges, the export of processed products, primarily frozen fries, has seen a robust recovery post-pandemic. Belgium alone has exported over three million tons, accounting for half of the total volume from the EU’s top five. Interestingly, even during past global recessions, the export of fries has remained resilient, indicating their value proposition in the food industry.
However, rising prices have slightly dampened the growth trajectory of fry exports. The U.S., which has become one of the EU’s largest export markets for frozen fries, has witnessed a tenfold increase in imports over the past decade. This surge is attributed to the U.S.’s own supply constraints, leading to higher imports from both Canada and Europe.
Intriguingly, emerging players like India, China, and Turkey are making their mark in the global fry export arena. Both India and China have each exported 85,000 tons of fries, marking significant growth over recent years. As their processing capabilities expand, they are poised to play a more prominent role in the global market.
In conclusion, the European potato market is undergoing significant transformations, influenced by a myriad of factors. Stakeholders across the supply chain will need to adapt and innovate to navigate these changing tides.
Source: United Potato Growers of America (UPGA)