30 June 2000

Spud campaign OK

BRITAINS Free for Kids campaign, launched in mid-June to promote British early potatoes, has already made an impact, according to the British Potato Council.

"Although its difficult to tell at this stage, feedback so far has been extremely positive. Supermarkets have been having to buy in more potatoes because their stocks were running out very quickly," said Victoria Branch of the BPC. "We have already had over 10,000 customers redeem their vouchers."

Tesco potato buyer Roy Maynard says sales were significantly higher than last year. "The campaign has proved to be a real success. We also have a policy of local marketing and the two complement each other."

The BPC is already working on promotions for next season which will follow a similar line.

"I look forward to seeing an increased share of British potatoes in the supermarkets next year," adds Mr. Maynard. "Consumers prefer to buy British where they can so we will do as much as possible to provide them with what they want."

As supermarket orders increase prices are beginning to firm and confidence in the market is growing. The chip shop trade is also switching to new crop.

In Cornwall, chipping material is worth up to £100/t in bags, £90/t for bulk wholecrop, although trade is slow. Prices in Pembroke are slightly higher at £100-120/t for bag chipping and £70-90/t for bulk. Salad varieties were worth £130-140/t.

Bag samples from Lincs were mostly £100-110/t up to £135/t for Maris Bard and Prince. A shortage of chipping material in Suffolk/Essex has pushed bag prices up to £160/t for best, mostly £130/t. Salad varieties were up to £180/t.

In Kent bags were firmer at £90-140/t and bulk £90-110/t.