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A Market View - Number 1

8th September 2023

It is worth noting for our first market comment that the Potato area was reduced by circa 10% from 2022 to 2023 although this is difficult to substantiate post AHDB as there are no hard and fast figures, just anecdotal evidence based on individual farms and their planted areas.

After a cold and delayed planting campaign crops are now being burnt off in greater volumes and although skin set remains slow there has been sufficient crop in most weeks to meet customer requirements. Crops vary from “very good” to “poor” and it is hard to quantify a predicted UK crop although it would be fair to say that things are overall better than expected considering the lack of solar radiation levels in July and August.

Overall the market is “ok” would be a general summary of trade with some market categories weaker than others. What we mean by this is that prices are better than contract but no longer at the heady heights that we saw in June/July and early August.

Retail packing/wholesale – sales seem to be good although we are now in the traditional “time of plenty” month of September so can expect more potatoes than there have been for customers to choose from. This is mostly in the form of contracts but with many customers not having covered their contracting requirement there should be opportunities at sensible values for the remainder of the season. Whites trade at circa £290-350, Reds £400-450, Piper £400-450, King Eds £no real trade. Salads/New are in quite a range depending on quality and exact size requirements but an average of £400-500 would be a very broad brush. It is felt that mediums, 45-65mm are likely to be in short supply later in the season as some crops are bold due to low tuber number.

Chipping – Sales seem to be a little subdued but this warmer spell may help to improve seaside outings and therefore consumption. Schools going back is also likely to improve the food service side of the chipping trade but prices have been on a downward trend recently and the usual caveats of size/bag count and variety do play a significant part in finalising the price. £250-£290 would be a strong range.

Bulk Processing – Quieter on the whole now contracted crops are more freely available. Price very variable with variety and quality. Hard to quote.

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