What’s going on with potatoes and when can we expect the situation to improve?

We know what you're thinking, reporting on potatoes again..... The situation surrounding Potato crops across the UK is dire at the moment. But how dire?

To put things into perspective, England received 1,696mm of rain between October 2022 & March 2024, the wettest 18-month period since records began in 1836! As you can imagine this has resulted in planted crops either being flooded, damaged by wet weather or physically not being planted at all - and for the ones that did manage to survive, they had to be left in the ground to rot in as the fields were too wet to operate equipment across. Not only does all of this result in a massive financial hit for growers, but it is possible that a higher level of imports will be required to plug gaps in supply, which is costly to the environment. So what has all of this damage done?

From a supply chain perspective, the impact of wet weather extends beyond the fields. The quality and quantity of potato yields influence market availability and pricing. A poor harvest will typically lead to reduced supply in the market, which can cause prices to rise. This fluctuation affects not only farmers but also retailers and consumers, potentially leading to higher consumer prices and affecting buying behaviour. As a business we have seen a huge increase in the cost of Potatoes, this is not something new, it happens whenever there is a shortage, and that doesn't just apply to fresh produce, fuel prices hit an all-time high not long ago when there was a shortage, toilet roll and pasts prices increased during Covid when people stocked up, its all part of life. We have tried to keep prices as low as possible for our customers, but ultimately, it comes to a point where we have no choice but to increase them in line with what we are being charged by growers. We have noticed a significant drop in the availability of certain potatoes, especially Maris Pipers, across the market and, we are now hearing rumours that salad potatoes will also soon begin to drop in quality and availability.

Picture above, you can see just how bad some field conditions have been left in - the majority of potatoes that were left in the ground to rot are in such poor condition, that they are not even deemed suitable for animal feed!

To sum everything up, we are not expecting the issues surrounding potatoes to improve anytime soon, in fact, we are anticipating prices to continue to rise and quality to potentially decrease over the next few months. There are some reports that the wet weather has also delayed planting in some areas of the UK, which is leading to concerns that we will have a slow start to next season. So the real question and concern is, will there be enough potatoes for roastie over Christmas?

Georgina Williams - Marketing Assistant

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