03 April 2020
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Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board

Potato Weekly

03 April 2020

At a glance

  • Free buy trade has really quietened this week for all sectors.
  • Retail demand has lessened slightly this week, with minimal requirement for free buy supplies. Anecdotally it is said that both supermarkets and packers may have overbought last week and are still working through supplies this week.
  • Trade in the chipping market is at almost a complete standstill as most chip shops remain closed across the UK.
  • Another week of good weather nationwide has meant that for many, planting of potatoes has continued at pace. Soil conditions are currently “ideal” in most parts of the country, although night time temperatures are still low.
  • The uncertainty of how long certain markets may be unavailable is hanging over some growers who are trying to make planting decisions.

Articles this week

CIPC levels and moving crop between markets
If you have potatoes in store that were destined for the fish and chip or processing markets and now need a new home, you’ll need to consider how much CIPC has been applied. If you’ve applied 24g/tonne or less and stored over 5oC then you can move them into the general bag market. Click here for more details.

Coronavirus crashes European processing
Taking a look at the situation across Europe and the potential impacts on stocks of finished products and raw materials. Read the full article here.

Marketing materials for growers selling direct to the public

If you’re selling potatoes in your local community or via a website, we have some marketing materials available for use. Including a list of the allowable nutrition messages that related to potatoes. Download them here.

Coronavirus update: impact of eating-out closures
Read the full article here

Weekly prices

2019 crop - Packing
England - All prices free-buy, ex farm, £/t unless otherwise stated.
  • Prices for packing material have remained firm this week despite some reports of slightly quieter sales.
  • There could be a change in shopper behaviour going forward as the government pushes for people to shop only when essential, and less often at that. This could result in a drop in shopper frequency, but potentially a rise in basket size.
  • There is some optimism surrounding the requirement for packing material going forward to remain relatively firm, but with more potatoes potentially available that were originally destined for other uses, prices could see pressure.
Scotland - All prices free-buy, ex farm, £/t unless otherwise stated.
2019 crop - Bags
GB - All prices free-buy, ex farm, £/t unless otherwise stated.
  • We have been unable to publish any bag prices this week due to a lack of quotes reported.
  • With the majority of chip shops currently closed, sales of chipping material are extremely limited. The National Federation of Fish Fryers announced last week that they were advising all shops to close aside from businesses that were able to safely operate a delivery service in line with government guidelines and advice. The numbers of chip shops offering these services is currently limited. Overall trade largely at a standstill, with no quotes received for material sold for frying at all this week.
  • There have again been some reports of chipping material moving through other sales avenues, but this has been very limited.
  • Sales of bagged ware have also considerably dropped off this week. There are still some sales occurring direct from farm but these are reportedly quiet too. Those shoppers who opted for 25kg bags in the past couple of weeks are likely well stocked still and have not needed to re-purchase yet.
2019 crop - Processing
GB - All prices free-buy, ex farm, £/t unless otherwise stated.
  • Due to an insufficient number of quotes, we are unable to report processing prices this week.
  • Trade in peeling material was very limited this week as the foodservice shutdown limited demand. Reportedly material for French fries is in a similar situation, with a boost in retail sales doing little to offset such a massive loss in purchases.
  • Crisping material has continued to move into factories, though supplies remain tight. Good retail demand for Britain’s favourite savoury snack has helped mitigate the issues seen in other sectors.
  • There are still concerns surrounding staff in processing factories and the potential for staff to have to self-isolate. Hygiene protocols are strict on sites as a matter of course, but there is the potential for a lack of staff available to work.
2019 crop - Exports
GB - All prices free-buy, ex farm, £/t unless otherwise stated.
  • No export trade was reported this week.

These quotes are from actual free-buy trades collected by a weekly telephone survey of buyers, growers and merchants on a Wednesday and Thursday.
They give an indication of the range of prices achieved in the past week.
Any underlined and italicised prices are based on a smaller sample and will only display the median value.
n/q = no quotes in last reported week.
For further information on what these prices mean and how they are calculated,
please click here.

Quick links


Alice Bailey
Senior Analyst


Or meet the Market Intelligence Potato Team here.