Comment: Retail demand remains firm and the food service sector continues to trade, albeit at a reduced capacity.
Looking at current projections, it looks like it will be the summer months before restaurants can reopen.
Demand remains strong for quality pre-pack material. With current weather conditions, it is unlikely that any major plantings will begin until March.
As expected, preliminary IFA stock survey results suggest that stocks are back 10% to 15% on this time last year.
This will leave potato availability very tight as the season progresses. In the UK, paperwork issues following the end of the transition period seem to be improving, although there are still reports of loads not being accepted for export due to compliance issues. It is estimated that it is now costing an extra £180 per consignment to export from the UK.
Although traded volumes differ significantly, Maris Piper is obtaining a premium over Whites in both the packing and processing sectors. In Europe, fresh markets remain firm, but the focus has now changed to the processing sector, where buyers are more active.
There is a growing concern that disposals into feed, biogas and flake may have been overdone. Confidence is returning to the market.