Comment: Retail demand was buoyant over the Easter period, but the food service sector continues to trade at a minimum.

There was good early planting progress over the past week, although growth rates are hampered as it remains very cold overnight with sub-zero temperatures.

Reports indicate that Kerr Pinks and Record varieties are scarce and are commanding a premium price.

In the UK, plantings are progressing well following a period of warmer weather. The easing of lockdown restrictions across England this week, alongside good weather seen by many, has energised some demand for chipping potatoes.

Across Europe, another series of lockdowns is stifling demand and the main processors are keeping their requirements almost solely to contracts. Despite improved sales, prices in the fresh sector are showing signs of downward pressure as growers push to sell their stock. It is estimated that stocks in the five main potato-producing countries in northwest Europe – which includes the UK - are 900,000t higher than last year.