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Limited stocks and anticipated harvest delays keep UK potato prices on upward trend

UK potato prices remain elevated due to limited supply following the small 2023 harvest and a delayed planting season, writes market analyst Harry Campbell in a market report published by Mintec.

The Mintec Benchmark Prices (MBP) for English White potatoes reached £630/MT on 7th May, marking a 90% year-on-year (y-o-y) increase, while the MBP for English Maris Piper potatoes was priced at £660/MT up by 120% y-o-y. Maris Piper remains very short in supply, and market participants reported to Mintec that trading activity has been limited. 

Warmer weather in May has accelerated planting progress across the UK. Market sources informed Mintec that most growers in England have completed planting, while Scottish growers are making progress but still have about 50% of unplanted area. 

Projections for the new crop area suggest it will be on par with 2023. Although more growers have shown interest in expanding their planting area, seed availability constraints have limited overall growth. 

Potato supplies are under pressure, and with the harvest anticipated to be delayed by about two weeks, there will be a higher reliance on existing stocks. Growers holding remaining stocks are capitalising on high free-buy prices, with some retaining portions of their stock, as they expect English White potato prices to exceed £700/MT. Market sources described the current situation as a “sellers’ market.” 

Source: Mintec Analytics
Harry Campbell, Market Analyst, Mintec

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