According to a report by Toni Williams for Rural Life in New Zealand, an influx of European potato fries into New Zealand has already impacted on domestic growers, with less product planned for growing and staff job losses. Latest figures were estimated at a surplus of 2.6million tonnes in Europe and growing due to the impacts of further lockdowns in parts of Europe.
According to Jim Offner of The Packer publication, marketing to different ethnic and demographic groups in North America requires flexibility and a diverse portfolio of products, marketers say. Jim writes in a recent article in The Packer that packaging — or lack of it — is an example, according to Jessica Peri, retail sales manager with Yerington, Nev.-based onion grower-shipper Peri & Sons Farms. “We have found that most markets that cater to specific demographics purchase mostly bulk and not in bags,” she said. “This is preferred by most ethnic groups.”
Lockdown 2.0 “arrived” in Britain and this brings widespread closure of pubs and restaurants once again. Although the rules differ across the country, with Wales’ firebreak rules coming to an end, Scotland experiencing regional restrictions and England in a full national lockdown. This will inevitably effect the potato industry, but the effect is unlikely to be as dramatic as the first lockdown, according to the AHDB.
Supplying McDonald’s with all their potatoes means a Canterbury grower has been able to avoid the worst effects of a Covid-19-inspired glut of overseas potatoes on the New Zealand market. Canterbury-based Hewson Farms produces around 22,000 tonnes of potatoes every year – 12,000 tonnes of which end up as McDonald’s fries. However, a 2.6 million tonne surplus of the vegetable in Europe – floods of spuds – is causing headaches for New Zealand growers and processors.
The Coronavirus has had a major impact on the global potato industry since its discovery and spread earlier this year, writes Cedric Porter, editor of World Potato Markets magazine. The crisis led to a 20 percent increase in household consumption of table potatoes in April-May in many countries. Trade in potatoes and potato products declined 3,4% to € 13,240 billion for the Northern Hemisphere from August 2019 to July 2020. The crisis has shown many buyers that potatoes are nutritious, versatile and a valuable food.
The outlook is good for high-quality crops of red and yellow potatoes from North Dakota and Minnesota, reports Sandy Lindblad Lee for Produce Business. Optimistic predictions for an excellent crop of consistent volume of Red River Valley potatoes is gratifying news for the multitude of buyers and consumers who look forward to these famous fresh spuds. This forecast is even more welcome following last season’s heavy losses in the Valley’s central and southern growing regions.
Record potato sales continued at retail from July through September 2020, according to a news release issued by Potatoes USA. Total store potato sales are said to have increased by 13.6% in dollar sales and 10.6% in volume sales, compared to the same time frame in 2019. These sales levels are also the highest they have been for the past five years. Frozen potatoes showed the greatest increase compared to a year ago, with a dollar sales increase of 23.9% and a 19.7% increase in volume sales. The only category that declined compared to a year ago is deli-prepared sides.
South Africa has seen a massive surge in potato prices in recent months, after an unusually cold winter in Limpopo hurt the early part of the province’s harvest This month, the average market price of a bag of 10kg potatoes in South Africa (across all classes and markets) reached an eyewatering R83. As recently as June, the average price was R34.40, according to data from Potatoes SA. This means an increase of 140% in four months.
According to the latest potato market report by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), liftings continue this week in Ireland following a reasonably dry few days. There are continued reports that yields are below average especially in areas that were affected by drought earlier in the year. As it stands, IFA says that growers supplying the food service sector have had one of the worst years on record. Trade for Kerr Pinks is holding steady and quality is reported as very good.
A changing market landscape in the British potato industry: What behavioural changes has Coronavirus driven?
Following an extraordinary few months for the industry, join the AHDB Retail & Consumer Insight team during a series of webinars, focused on reviewing how the market and consumers have changed during the coronavirus pandemic, and what opportunities and threats this now presents for AHDB sectors. Grace Randall joins Kim Malley for this webinar focused on potatoes, discussing how purchasing and consumption has been impacted by coronavirus, pulling out the opportunities and threats for the category in the future.
Tasmanian supermarkets have thrown support behind the state’s potato producers, confirming they will not stock imported potatoes, according to a report by Caitlin Jarvis published by The Examiner in Australia. Caitlin reports that a conditional import licence was approved in June for South Australian company Mitolo Group to import fresh potatoes into Tasmania. However, the products will not end up on supermarket shelves. Coles, Woolworths, and Island Fresh, which operates the IGA chain of independent supermarkets, on Monday confirmed they would not stock the imported SA potatoes in Tasmania.
Fresh potato sales increased significantly from July 2019 through June 2020, and so did the number of households buying potatoes, according to a news release issued by Potatoes USA. The organization says eighty-eight percent of households purchased potatoes on an average of 10 times during the 52-week period. This was a significant increase for fresh potatoes, which are already a staple item in households. During 2019, consumers purchased fresh potatoes, on average, seven times in 83% of households. Potatoes continued to be bought most often with bread, milk, eggs, onions, and other staple household items.
Covid-19 has driven dramatic revival in potato sales, with Branston’s James Truscott confident category can continue to prosper in longer term. The managing director of one of Britain’s leading potato suppliers has tipped the sales boost for potatoes to outlast coronavirus lockdown measures thanks to what he hopes are lasting changes to people’s cooking habits, according to a report by Fred Searle for Fruitnet.
Between May and July this year AHDB’s marketing team ran a successful campaign which aimed to keep potatoes relevant to consumers while educating them about their versatility, ease of use and health benefits, the organization says in a recent news article. In response to the market dynamics created by COVID-19, AHDB says there was a need to create additional demand in retail and drive volume in sales to attempt to make up for some of the losses through foodservice. Bud the Spud’ was part of a marketing campaign (More Than a Bit on the Side) with proven positive results.
Potato consumption has remained resilient in Britain over the past six months, despite closures in the foodservice market, according to figures released by AHDB. Strong retail sales led to an overall 12% volume increase for potatoes in the six months to 9 August, according to AHDB estimates based on Kantar data. Over the 24 weeks ending (w/e) 9 August, retail sales volumes of potatoes and potato products rose well ahead of the total food and non-alcoholic drink uplift. The return of big fast food brands in June helped lift takeaway volumes of potatoes.
As the ‘no travel’ trend continues into the holidays, Side Delights offers easy solutions for consumers choosing to stay home or close to home this holiday season. In a recent study, 58% of consumers are not planning to travel for the holiday season—up from 49% last year. In August, data showed that winter holiday bookings were 65.4% behind where they were around a similar time period in 2019.
While shoppers’ smiles are currently hidden behind their masks, they’ll soon spot plenty of friendly faces in the snack aisle thanks to Lay’s, which is converting millions of potato chip bags to feature the real smiles of 30 “ordinary” people doing extraordinary things in their communities. During a time when joy is needed more than ever, the new Lay’s bags continue the brand’s mission to inspire even more smiles in 2020, with up to $1 million in proceeds benefitting Operation Smile.
According to the latest Potato Weekly report published by AHDB in the UK on Friday, the past week has seen free-buy trade fall once again. AHDB Analyst Alex Cook reports that movement of supplies on contract continues to hold the majority in potato markets. Repeat orders, in some cases with lower volumes, form the common comments this week rather than fresh demand. Anticipation and uncertainty surrounding a potential re-imposing of stricter lockdown measures has seen some purchasers await further information before placing orders, meaning demand has subdued.
Kent based Provenance Potatoeshttp://www.provenance-potatoes.co.uk/ is launching a 2kg retail pack, brilliantly sized for store shelves in farm shops and independent retailers across the South of the UK. The new retail pack is the perfect size for families, with the added bonus that the potatoes are locally grown and packed and support British farmers. All Provenance Potatoes are washed, graded and packed using only the finest potatoes from the heart of Kent.
Processing potatoes supply is still outweighing the reduced demand on the domestic market. Given that most planting decisions had been made this year when the pandemic hit, this demand erosion has had minimal impact on the GB potato area. Indeed, the current estimate of 119Kha is only 1% back on 2019. In recent years, the processing area has been increasing steadily, standing at 37.5Kha last year. Using the proportion the processing area made up of the total GB area last year (31%), we could estimate 2020 area to stand around 37Kha.
Just days before his Center, CO, operation kicked off its 2020 San Luis Valley potato season, Skyline Potato Co. General Manager Les Alderete said he was optimistic about the overall market situation and the coming year. “We’re hoping for a decent year,” Alderete said in mid-August, adding that although the summer had been hot and dry, the growing season was good and harvest weather forecasts were also favorable. He did say that water in the San Luis Valley is “tight” after a short snowpack.
The week has been described as relatively quiet across the board, with many supplies across all sectors utilised mainly on contract, writes AHDB Analyst Anthony Speight in today’s issue of the Potato Weekly report. He says slight increase in demand for certain sectors as schools start again after many months of being shut. However, stakeholders within the industry say this is not necessarily being felt as we head into a conventionally quiet spell.
Free-buy potato markets in the UK continue to see pressure on prices. Increasingly available supply for markets has met a widespread muted level of demand. Trade has remained on a steady level, consisting of mostly repeat orders. Processing markets have been reported as steady this week, with some better levels of demand for frozen potato products following the government ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ voucher scheme. Processing markets look to the return of education sectors for an increased level of demand in the next few weeks.