Home potato stocks stand at 1.35m tonnes according to the latest provisional estimate from the British Potato Council.

Some 4.44m tonnes of potatoes had been used by the end of March, the BPC calculated – down 5% on last year.

Human consumption is level, so the shortfall has been put down to lower volumes being wasted or channelled into stock feed.

Use is the lowest since at least 2000, according to BPC figures, with remaining home-crop stocks only 20,000t more than recent lows in 2003 and 2000.