29 January 2021
'Quietest January ever' for some in UK
JANUARY 2021 has been one of the quietest ever for many in the UK potato trade, according to AHDB Analyst Anthony Speight.
Demand on free-buy across the past week has been described as lacklustre, as supplies are fulfilled on contract.
While January is always a quiet month in the trade, lockdown and mobility restrictions are hitting all businesses and stakeholders across the industry and, with months of trade lost, some are cutting their losses as sheds are extremely full for the time of year, Anthony reveals in a market intelligence bulletin.
Despite low moods and apprehension across the processing and bags trade, the vaccination programme offers some optimism but it's still unknown whether lockdown measures will be eased in time for Easter.
There has been a steady flow on the free-buy packing market this week. Demand is still present, although not in massive quantities and mainly for the very best quality produce. Prices have not moved much in either direction on the week.
Demand is still mainly for retail, as food service is significantly depleted with anecdotal reports of some packing lines running at just 50% capacity.
Trade across the week is described as extremely quiet. "Lockdown measures are really having an impact on the bagging trade which has seen footfall in hotspots reduce to almost nothing," the bulletin states.
Processing demand is pretty standard for this time of the year. There is still some requirement out there, but again there is mostly interest in higher quality potatoes.
There has been very little price movement from last week. Maris Piper remains the most popular with the largest quantities moving.
In terms of exports, there has been steady export trade to Ireland and the Canaries, although trade to Ireland has has reduced since confirmation of the Brexit deal, as mass stockpiling purchases were tempered with the confirmation of a deal.