Monday, 19 November 2018


Great Britain processed potato exports are up by 24%, while imports are also up by 5%, according to AHDB GB Potatoes Market Intelligence 2017–2018 report.

By Ioana Oancea

Net import of fresh potatoes reached 54,000t, up by 22%, while seed exports have increased 3% and exports are down by 60%. “Although this comes as no surprise, due to the poor yields achieved on the continent in the previous year, seed was in very high demand and was reported to be fetching upwards of EUR/1,000/t for certain varieties,” according to the report. This was driven by a 62% reduction in seed from the Netherlands.

According to the report citing Kantar Worldpanel data, fresh potato sales have continued their long-term downward trend over the past five years, with volume sales declining by 4% and value sales declining by 19% in the period. In the most recent year, fresh potatoes sold in GB retail were worth GBP1.1bn (year ending August 2017). This was 2% lower than in the previous year and is due to lower average retail prices, as volumes have remained relatively stable over the past year. Volume sales of fresh potatoes across the retailers have been relatively stable, with the major multiples and the hard discounters experiencing some growth year-on-year.

Volumes of different carbohydrates sold in the GB retail market have remained relatively static over the past year. Maincrop accounts for 60% of fresh potato volumes sold through GB retailers. This proportion has decreased this year, as volumes have declined. New potato volumes have also seen a 3% fall in volume sales, while baking potatoes have seen good volume growth of 13% year on year. This has been driven by an increase in

The value of total processed potatoes sold in the GB retail market reached a value of GBP1,921,842, with a YOY change of 2.3%, while in terms of volume it reached 708,329, with a YOY change of 0.5%, according to GB carbohydrate retail sales presented by AHDB. Total fresh potatoes will reach a value of 1,057,356, with a YOY change of -2.0%, volume – 1,303,412, with a YOY change of 0.1. Value expressed in GBP millions.

Consumer Perception

On the other hand, AHDB conducts a consumer tracker with YouGov to monitor attitudes toward potatoes on a six-monthly basis. The most recent findings of this survey show that 76% of consumers eat potatoes on a weekly basis and when asked, 71% of people surveyed said they considered potatoes to be healthy. While there are threats to potato consumption from alternative carbohydrates such as pasta and rice in terms of their perceived healthiness and how convenient they are to prepare and cook, versatility and being tasty are key areas that consumers consider positive in relation to potatoes, according to the report.

According to HMRC, in 2016/17, of non-EU countries, the UK imported the majority of fresh potatoes from Israel and processed potato products from Canada, South Africa and the USA. For non-EU exports, the UK continued to export the largest amount of seed potatoes to Egypt, fresh potatoes to Norway and processed potatoes to Nigeria in the 2016/17 season.

2016/17 saw an increase in planted area from 111,400ha in 2015/16 to 116,000ha. This season has seen a similar increase of 4% in planted area, taking GB’s crop area up to 121,000ha, as at June 2017. If average yields are achieved this year, production could be between 5.6 and 5.7 million tons. This would mean a crop at least 400,000 tons larger than the two previous seasons. 

Related articles: 

AHDB Potatoes: Brexit Could Provide Challenges to Crisp and Seed Exports 

AHDB Launches New Tool to Fight against Blight 

AHDB Shares Exclusive Views on Potato Trade 2017

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