The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still being felt across the European potato industry.
The Northwestern European Potato Growers (NEPG) group estimates that the European potato processing industry is working at 80% to 90% of their normal capacity.
As many contracts with growers are signed at the start of the year, the group states that there are likely to be significant reductions in contracted volumes in 2021.
This season is the first where the sprout suppressant active ingredient CIPC is not allowed.
Many growers are testing and experimenting with alternative treatments. However, all NEPG countries (UK, Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands) report sprouting stocks.
The group says that many potatoes which are not under contract remain in stores and may soon be sent for cattle feed, to the starch industry or for biogas production.
Increasing retail demand
Potato retail demand across Europe has been strong, driven by an estimated 11% increase in home consumption.
Fresh potato retail demand has also remained strong in Europe.
For example, the Netherlands reported a significant increase in yearly exports to Africa, from 30,190t to 58,200t this year.