Trade/Markets/Prices

Potato retail sales in the U.S. surge in recent quarter despite volume fluctuations

In the third quarter of 2023, potato retail sales in the U.S. increased by 9.5% compared to the same period last year, as reported by Potatoes USA. Despite a slight 1.7% drop in overall volume sales, fresh potato sales remained stable. Notable growth was seen in canned, frozen, and instant potato categories in dollar sales. Fresh potato prices rose to $1.12 per pound, a 6.3% increase from the previous year. Despite some fluctuations, the overall increase in dollar sales highlights the enduring appeal of potatoes among consumers.

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Hungary’s potato production plummets further in 2023

In 2023, Hungary’s potato yield declined further to 161.5 thousand tons, continuing a downward trend from 2022. Economic challenges like high labor costs, irrigation issues, and unpredictable market demand are blamed. Imports and exports also fell, with a notable decrease in trade with France and the Netherlands. This led to a significant 45% increase in potato prices, impacting consumers and highlighting the sector’s struggles in the Hungarian economy.

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British growers warn of potato crop damage and soaring prices

Due to recent poor weather and devastating floods, there has been a significant reduction in potato supplies in Britain, leading to a substantial increase in prices. The spot price of potatoes is currently at least double the usual rate for this time of year. The floods have resulted in about 10% fewer plantings and 15-20% of the crop still in the ground, some of which won’t be harvested due to water damage. Similar problems are reported in major potato-growing areas in Europe.

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Irish and UK potato harvests face severe challenges amidst unprecedented rainfall

The Irish Farmers Association reports severe challenges in potato harvesting in Ireland and the UK due to excessive rainfall. Many areas have exceeded average annual rainfall, hindering harvest and increasing frost damage risk. In Ireland, heavy rains have exposed crops to frost, threatening significant losses. A few hard frosts at this point will wipe out entire crops. In the UK, particularly in the Midlands and northwards, several growers are facing the daunting task of lifting over 500 acres of potatoes.

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Global experts rally for sustainable food security solutions at symposium

At the Food Systems Transformation symposium, experts highlighted the urgent need for a strategic overhaul of global food security methods. The event, hosted by Agrico and SeedNL, emphasized the importance of sustainable, inclusive food systems and the role of strategic policy in leveraging food as a geopolitical asset. Discussions covered the necessity of local focus, innovation, and multi-stakeholder cooperation, with a special mention of Africa’s challenges in value addition due to trade laws.

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FIWAP and PCA report on challenges and trends in the European potato sector in latest market report

According to the latest FIWAP/PCA market report. the European potato harvest is lagging due to colder tubers making drying difficult. Belgium has 15-20% left to harvest, with varying percentages across Europe. The average potato yield is slightly down from last season but above the five-year average. On the futures market, potato prices remained stable, but the harvest delay and weather are causing market tensions in the European market, while North America is facing an oversupply.

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Potato surplus leads to massive spud dump in the Northwest of the U.S.

The Northwest is grappling with an unprecedented surplus of French fry potatoes, leading to a vast “spud dump” across the region. Favorable growing conditions and demand miscalculation are cited as causes. Now, massive amounts of spuds must be destroyed: 165,000 tons of them. This problem will likely carry over to next year’s farmers’ woes. That’s because 10% more potatoes from this year will be used next year by major potato processors.

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Potatoes: The produce powerhouse driving retail success in the U.S.

Fresh potatoes have emerged as a consistent sales force in the U.S. produce sector, offering retailers vast opportunities for increased customer interaction. Data reveals that effective merchandising significantly boosts potato sales. With the highest household penetration among vegetables, purchased on average 10 times annually, potatoes enhance sales for other items too. Their contribution to the produce department ensures overall store success, making them a valuable asset for retailers.

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Fertilizer market recovers: Rabobank foresees positive growth in global fertilizer market

Rabobank’s recent report indicates a positive trajectory for the global fertilizer market in the upcoming years, despite a 7% decline in 2022. The market is projected to see a 3% rise in usage in 2023. The Israel-Hamas conflict’s effect on the fertilizer market is currently minimal. The Affordability Index predicts a favorable scenario for fertilizer buying in 2024, with a nearly 5% increase. While the nitrogen market faces challenges, potash and phosphate markets are optimistic.

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Mintec: NEPG potato prices stabilise despite quality concerns

The Mintec Benchmark price for Dutch potatoes has stabilized at €120/mt, a 51% decrease from last year. Market insiders note a bullish trend as processors seek free-buy stocks. However, quality concerns have arisen, leading growers to sell lower-quality potatoes and store premium ones. Similarly, Fontane potatoes in Belgium are priced at €100/mt, a 60% year-on-year drop. Harvests in France and Germany progress, but quality issues persist.

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Resilient Irish and UK potato markets amidst challenging harvesting conditions, brighter picture in Europe

Despite the pandemic’s aftermath, Ireland’s potato retail sales remain robust. A brief calm allowed harvesting, but subsequent heavy rains, especially in Cork, halted operations. As November nears, harvesting faces further challenges, potentially increasing losses. Similarly, the UK and Scotland confront harvesting difficulties, with Scotland achieving 60% ware clearance. In contrast, Northern France reports a 70% clearance rate and promising yields.

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From dependency to autonomy: Zimbabwe’s potato success story

Zimbabwe has achieved full self-sufficiency in table potato production, thanks to a government-led import substitution policy initiated in 2010. This policy banned table potato imports, promoting local farming. The shift has been successful, with potato production rising from 52,000 tonnes in 2010 to 599,550 tonnes in 2022. There was a 37 percent drop in the value of seed potato imports from US$9 814 212 for the period January to August in 2022 to US$6 141 750 in the same period this year.

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Potato imports from the UK delayed from entering the Canary Islands

Potato imports from the UK to the Canary Islands are delayed due to insufficient inspection staff at key ports. This follows the detection of Colorado potato beetle larvae in UK potatoes, prompting strict phytosanitary measures. While UK farmers must limit soil on shipped potatoes, containers in the Canary Islands must pass through Border Inspection Points. Staff shortages often result in unchecked containers, with measures to continue until the UK addresses the beetle issue.

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Latest UPGC newsletter provides insights into potato trends in North America and Europe

The latest newsletter from the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC) provides insights into the current potato market in Canada, the United States, and Europe. In 2023, the North American potato market is poised for growth, with the U.S. expecting a 9.5% increase in production. Canada’s output is also on the rise, led by provinces like Manitoba. However, challenges like excessive rainfall in some regions could impact yields. Meanwhile, Europe’s market remains steady, with Dutch yields showing resilience.

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From Ireland to Europe: IFA sheds light on retail resilience and harvesting landscapes

The Irish Farmers Association’s weekly potato market report indicates steady retail sales in Ireland despite challenging harvest conditions due to unsettled weather. Demand for new season crops remains high, with average yields reported. In Europe, demand has decreased, but stability is observed in France, Germany, and Holland. The 2023 figures show a shift towards processing varieties. The U.K. faces tough harvest conditions, but Scotland reports a 35% clearance rate.

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Frozen potato boom: Global market set to soar to $92.7 billion by 2031

Europe is solidifying its dominance in the frozen potato market, as revealed by a recent report from Allied Market Research. The global market, which was valued at $60.3 billion in 2021, is projected to soar to $92.7 billion by 2031. The frozen french fries segment holds the most significant portion of the global market. The french fries segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.9% from 2022 to 2031.

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Ireland’s potato harvest faces tough hurdles, European markets stabilize

Irish potato farmers are facing one of the most challenging harvest seasons in years due to adverse conditions like waterlogging and crop cracking. Despite these hurdles, domestic demand remains steady, with an anticipated rise as colder weather approaches. In Europe, potato prices stabilize, but the U.K. harvest lags by two weeks. Exporters are watchful, awaiting clarity on new regulations, while the Canary Islands experience a pressing need for fresh stock.

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Potato prices skyrocket in South Africa amid growing concerns about supply and food security

South African potato prices have surged, with a 10kg bag now costing R121 (6.25 euros), a 136% increase from last year, reports Carolize Jansen of FreshPlaza. Supply volumes have dropped by 46%. Other produce like bananas and pumpkins also face price hikes. Challenges such as water shortages and electricity issues plague farmers, raising concerns about food security and affordability in the region.

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Lamb Weston on a growth trajectory: Stellar Q1 2024 results showcase robust sales and profit increases

Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc. announced robust Q1 2024 results, with a 48% surge in net sales to $1,665.3 million, largely driven by key acquisitions in Europe and Argentina. Excluding these acquisitions, sales grew by 15%. The company’s strategic pricing actions and operational improvements contributed to this growth. CEO Tom Werner expressed optimism, highlighting the successful integration of EMEA operations and the launch of a new facility in China.

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NEPG raises alarm on falling potato prices: Challenges and hopes in Northwestern Europe’s agriculture

Northwestern Europe’s potato prices have sharply declined, causing concern among growers. The Northwest European Potato Growers (NEPG) highlights that the drop is due to increased contracted volumes and a rise in non-storable potatoes. While the market shows low demand, the NEPG advises growers to remain cautious and emphasizes the long-term market’s strength. They stress the importance of storage and urge stakeholders to ensure a conducive environment for future cultivation.

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Potato market booms: Northwestern States in the U.S. see significant sales growth in 2022

In 2022, the Northwestern U.S. witnessed a surge in potato sales, according to a report by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NAAS). Idaho’s sales rose by 35% to $1.41 billion, while Oregon and Washington saw increases of 12% and 33%, respectively. Although Idaho and Oregon’s potato production decreased by 9% and 2%, Washington’s grew by 4%. Collectively, these states contributed 61% to U.S. potato production. However, overall potato processing across eight states dipped by 1%.

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Kiremko: Unveiling sustainable potato processing opportunities in India

Kiremko, a leader in potato processing, strengthens ties between India and the Netherlands through sustainable practices and innovation. During the Dutch trade mission to India, Kiremko formed key partnerships, notably with Asandas and Haldiram/SK International, both for flake lines with a 2,400 kg/hr capacity. These collaborations aim to revolutionize potato processing in India, emphasizing Kiremko’s commitment to sustainability and customer satisfaction.

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Spain authorizes potato imports from the UK to the Canary Islands

The Government of Spain has authorized the importation of potatoes from the UK to the Canary Islands, excluding Kent due to the detection of the Colorado beetle. This decision is based on assurances from the UK’s phytosanitary authorities that the pest hasn’t established itself and that the UK has taken measures in affected areas. Imported potatoes must undergo cleaning to remove soil and harmful organisms, with a soil limit of 0.5%. Packaging regulations have also been set.

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European potato dynamics: Ireland’s stability, UK’s pricing efforts, and France’s yield predictions

In Ireland, potato home consumption and retail sales have stabilized due to colder weather, as per the Irish Farmers Association. New season Rooster potatoes are entering the market, but harvesting is tough due to late planting effects. In the UK, maincrop buyers aim to revert prices to contract levels, with more growers storing crops. France’s crop yield is predicted to be slightly below the decade’s average, with potential tight supplies in Europe due to increased demand.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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