Spud prices rise as buyers chase tight supplies

Free market potato prices increased by £11.55/t in the three weeks to 7 January, with buyers competing for limited best supplies.

The Potato Council‘s free buy average was £91.41/t higher than the same time last year, at £184.56/t. The GB weekly average was £51.84/t higher over the same period, at £165.56/t – only a £1.30/t increase since 17 December.

“Chipping movement has been slow since Christmas, with many farms only returning to unloading stores this week,” said the council’s latest report.

“However, demand remains firm and with supplies short, buyers are looking for growers prepared to load in order to replenish stocks of best quality frying material. The market is therefore continuing to firm in most regions, although traders are finding difficulty in passing on the higher prices paid.”

Tight baker supplies had boosted 65mm+ prices to £240-£280/t, depending on location.

Packing demand was likely to improve this week, with interest from buyers for best bold produce, but in Scotland, growers were confident of better prices to come, limiting availability.

In Northern Europe, prices improved sharply over the holiday period, driven by export demand to Russia. “Fresh and processing buyers are now competing for supplies, as exporters are increasing prices to secure material.”

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