Market chronicles

potato-planet
2021, Market chronicles

Potato market chronicle May 2021

Publication author: Silvana Paolozzi – Ets Jacques Albert Potato market chronicle May 2021 All market chronicles We’ve come to the end of a year that has been, over the long term, very difficult and not very fluid: the sanitary restrictions, the closure of restaurants, the absence of all events and festivities, all of which have had a heavy impact on us.With the lifting of these restrictions over the past few weeks, there is renewed hope that we will at last be able to return to a healthier, more normal commercial environment. For the time being, purchases from industry are intensifying and prices are rising. France and Europe: the market On the export front, the end of the campaign is making itself felt, and Italy and Eastern Europe are not buying. Sowing is almost complete, in good conditions but cold temperatures. Potatoes imported from Egypt and Israel are fetching good prices thanks to strong demand from Italy and Spain, countries that don’t usually buy. In France, we could be selling more right now, but we’re sorely lacking in quality potatoes. The demand is there, but the Italians and Spaniards are only looking for top-quality products, and we’re suffering to sell potatoes that this year have many defects. Admittedly, the withdrawal of the CIPC and the time needed to adapt to the new antigerminants have something to do with this. But perhaps we need to pay more attention, because without quality, we’re losing volumes as well as our historic customers, and can’t claim prices that cover production costs. Into the unknown for the future of the market The NEPG is announcing a 3 to 5% drop in plantings, the first year in a long time that these have always risen. We can only hope for a good recovery and better conditions for the coming campaign.

potato-planet
2021, Market chronicles

Potato market chronicle March 2021

Publication author: Jérôme Bonnier – J B Grains SARL Potato market chronicle March 2021 All market chronicles France, under the guise of Covid, has just proved locavores right. Far from all the indigestible standards, producers and consumers are discovering each other. Direct sales from vending machines, farm stores and city stores are becoming essential marketers. Let’s produce local, sell local, eat local; if possible, organic and year-round. Even if we can’t grow everything everywhere all year round. Last year at this time, we were bursting at the seams with unsold stock. Trucks in dispute every day Then Covid came along and we experienced collapses and recoveries. And let’s not forget the change in antigerminants, with growers lost with the new products wreaking havoc on storage. Fridges are running at full capacity to hold a potato that is aging very badly. Trucks are in dispute every day. Buyers are doing their best to meet the ever-increasing demands. With all these changes, the industry is struggling to find its feet. All the producers who supply the French fries segment are running low on stock. With Covid, organic production volumes are in surplus. Local authorities have to serve part of their meals organically, but if it’s confined, it’s not consumed… In supermarkets, sales are almost identical to last year, if not slightly higher. In step with confinements Our Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and German customers are also switching to local produce. We only receive very occasional requests for specific products. The tare rates applied are very high on certain batches. Many damaged potatoes are cleared. After a slight upturn and a few hedge buy-backs, Belgian and Dutch manufacturers are now back in the doldrums. The flake market is completely saturated. Egypt and Israel will start harvesting around mid-April. Planting in France’s primeur regions is underway. The first Breton flakes should arrive around June 1st. Let’s be positive: we’re expecting demand to overheat when all the gathering places reopen. But when?

potato-planet
2021, Market chronicles

Potato market chronicle January 2021

Publication author: Frédéric Laviron – Roussineau SA Potato market chronicle January 2021 All market chronicles The pandemic is not without consequences for our potato market. The out-of-home catering sector is on life support, with the main consequence that processing plants are slowing down. Difficulties in sourcing and applying substitute products The MINs are also slowing down, leaving only the supermarkets to market our potatoes. Households have reverted to their usual purchasing habits after the 1st confinement craze, and continue to prefer “pan-fried” ready meals. This imbalance leads to a constant demand for 1st category washable products and an amorphous market for second choice and non-washable products, with French operators working to respond favorably to the demands of mass retailers, whether in terms of quality or for the numerous promotions. Our export markets continue to be marked by the same demand, and prospects for sales of basic products to Eastern Europe remain slim. Marketing is made all the more delicate by the discontinuation of CIPC, and the difficulties in sourcing and applying the products that replace it, leading to a more rapid deterioration in sanitary and physiological condition in storage (mechanical damage and germs). The future of the market So what does the future hold? While a certain increase in the price of 1st category products is unavoidable in the short term, it should remain limited by the price of the basic washable product, for which there is currently little demand. Although average, our production remains sufficient, even surplus, given the limited supermarket market. I hope that 2021 will lead us to more peaceful paths and more fluid markets. On behalf of the brokers’ union, I would like to wish you and your loved ones an excellent New Year.

potato-planet
2020, Market chronicles

Potato market chronicle November 2020

Publication author: Christelle Denis – SARL D.Vegetables Potato market chronicle November 2020 All market chronicles At the beginning of November, this second confinement feels like a step backwards. Unlike the 1st containment, the consumer buying frenzy has not returned. Export sales are relatively calm, due to normal production levels, particularly in Central Europe; the reconfinement of all our European neighbors is having an impact on our exports, as they are giving priority to their domestic production in the context of this health crisis. Unclear market visibility Quality is not completely up to scratch either; our Spanish customers are very keen on quality 8 ware potatoes and are putting pressure on prices, but most of them are not satisfied with France’s visual quality (dartrose, sprouting…). Market visibility in this context of crisis is rather hazy; we’re sailing in the fog with uncertainties about the reopening of restaurants and bars, which are an important customer for wholesalers! In-store consumption is not very active, and the “promotions” that have been set up mean that the packing centers are working in fits and starts, making it difficult to get organized. Absences are multiplying due to the coronavirus, and this is a new parameter to juggle with! Potatoes adapt to all seasons What’s more, won’t the end of the CIPC force us to reduce the shelf life of ware potatoes? What will happen to quality between now and April? Is this the end of the 10-month smooth marketing of ware potatoes? This will be a year of transition in many respects, but the industry has always shown solidarity and strength in defending the French potato!

potato-planet
2020, Market chronicles

Potato market chronicle July 2020

Publication author: Yves Le Bouëdec – J. Lévesque SARL Potato market chronicle July 2020 All market chronicles What a year! And what can we say, so many buying habits have been turned upside down by the health crisis the world is undergoing. The state of health emergency ends on July 10, but the economic machine is slowly getting back into gear, while professional meetings have been cancelled. As far as the market for our tuber is concerned, we’re still having to cope with the lack of sales of potatoes for the French fries industry. Our European neighbors The context for early production is different from last year, with supply from our Spanish, Portuguese and Italian neighbors still half that of France. However, supermarkets are keen to source French products that are traceable and less carbon-intensive. While supply remained relatively limited until around July 20, after that, the numerous early plantings in various basins are likely to change the situation. No shortage of potatoes forecast There will probably be no shortage of ware potatoes again this year. With the exception of certain regions in the Hauts-de-France, the weather has been kind to us with plenty of rain. For seed potato production, aphid flights were high in northern France. Purification in the field is necessary. However, some downgrading of plots is to be expected.

potato-planet
2020, Market chronicles

Potato market chronicle May 2020

Publication author: Silvana Paolozzi – Ets Jacques Albert Potato market chronicle May 2020 All market chronicles The 55 days that changed the potato market… France is experiencing an unprecedented situation with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic. Back in February, we hadn’t yet grasped the full impact on the markets. Potatoes were not spared. We were in a downturn market, very calm after 6 months of sales at perfectly acceptable prices. After the confinement announced on March 17, packers had to respond to greater demand from supermarket consumers. In the packing centers, there was a lot of pressure. With absenteeism, rights of withdrawal, irritated drivers, social distancing and truck restrictions, it was difficult to keep up. Upward pressure on prices The agri-food sector has shown itself to be very strong and courageous. There are winners and losers: the demand for fresh produce has driven up prices, while the losers have been the closure of restaurants, fast-food outlets, canteens, factories and cruise ships, leaving potatoes for processing with no outlet other than animal feed or biogas at low prices. The European industry is currently suffering a major loss. The future of the market in limbo After the Easter holidays, the market has calmed down, but there is still a shortage of good-quality products for supermarkets. We should have enough potatoes to bridge the gap with the new ones. Italy has switched to Sicilian potatoes, while Spain has started in certain regions. With the campaign not quite over, we’re still in the dark as to how the market will turn out.

potato-planet
2020, Market chronicles

Potato market chronicle March 2020

Publication author: Jérôme Bonnier – J B Grains SARL Potato market chronicle March 2020 All market chronicles The potato business is exciting. Well, here we are a year later: “madly exciting”. All the thinking heads eager to shape the plant, with specifications that are sometimes incomprehensible, even irrational, are confined to their homes. The fresh potato market at the beginning of Marchwas completely depressed, close to agony. No sales, no throughput, not a single truck delivered without a dispute. A completely unknown virus brought us back down to earth. Red alert. All standards are forgotten. No more specifications, no more panels. We need potatoes. Stocks run dry. The survival instinct relegates all great maneuvers. The people are hungry and must be fed. It doesn’t matter whether the potato is organic, not organic, medium-sized, pretty or not, the shelves have to be filled at all costs, at the risk of riots. The growers are loading at an insane pace, and the transporters are on their toes. The centers are working 3×8, even to the point of being out of stock: an excellent opportunity to get rid of the potatoes that were supposed to end up unsold. Stocks are being emptied at breakneck speed. Some stocks are either almost empty or will last 2 to 3 weeks at most. The corona virus effect on the potato market The Italians have a ferocious appetite, and the Spaniards have planted a little earlier, so they should start getting potatoes in mid to late April. Israel is starting to arrive in Spain and Italy. Early growers in the south of France planted 3 weeks ago. To date, Brittany has only planted 15% of its early potato area. If all goes well, they should be back on track by week 13. Beauce will start planting in week 15, weather permitting. How long will the coronavirus effect keep potatoes selling? If the current pace continues for another 15 to 20 days, stocks will run dry.

potato-planet
2020, Market chronicles

Potato market chronicle January 2020

Publication author: Frédéric Laviron – Roussineau SA Potato market chronicle January 2020 All market chronicles Uncertainty is the worst of evils, until reality makes us regret the uncertainty. This is indeed the prevailing feeling at the start of this campaign, as our sales are so different from our forecasts. Didn’t we think that Eastern European countries, with their large production deficits, would come to France to buy at least part of their needs? Didn’t we think that French production, rather below annual averages, would lead the industrial sector to position itself to fill the gap? Didn’t we think we’d have no trouble selling all our production? Nothing, or very little, has turned out to be the case. Studying demand To date, stocks are still very full, and there’s a certain anxiety on everyone’s faces – that famous anxiety born of uncertainty. Admittedly, prices are quite attractive, but for what quality? Exceptional. Warm growing conditions have led to a more rapid ageing of tubers, and the gap between buyers’ demand for quality and the reality of batches is widening, giving way to a certain wait-and-see attitude and a lack of dynamism. The establishment of larger production areas in early-ripening regions, particularly in southern Spain, combined with a strong trend towards “local” consumption, leads me to believe that the campaign will not last as long as the taxes! Nonetheless, demand is there, particularly in Greece and Romania, and we need to consider all requests. A burning new year The new year is sure to be full of hot topics: alternatives to CIPC, more dormant varieties, the discontinuation of insecticides and, more generally, the sanitary quality of our production in view of the pressure of viruses and wireworms… Nevertheless, I join my fellow SNCPT brokers in wishing you an excellent year.

potato-planet
2019, Market chronicles

Potato market chronicle November 2019

Publication author: Christelle Denis – SARL D.Vegetables Potato market chronicle November 2019 All market chronicles After a drought and unprecedented heat that disrupted harvesting in September, we were waiting for rain to save the day so that we could harvest in non-irrigated regions; but the large quantities of rain that poured down did not facilitate harvesting in the northern regions of France.Balanced production on the market? The announced production seems to be in balance: unwashed sales to export markets made good progress in September; refrigerators are not overflowing, and crop prices are holding steady and do not seem to be falling. We can assume that this market situation will remain comfortable, but if we take a closer look at sales, will the situation continue like this? Sales of unwashed, non-contracted potatoes got off to a flying start in August-September, and have stabilized since October. If sales continue at this pace, there will be no shortage of potatoes, and it is conceivable that prices could fall in the 2nd half of the season. Household consumption If we take a closer look at household consumption of fresh potatoes, every year we lose consumers to ready-to-eat or quicker-to-prepare products; last season’s high in-store prices didn’t help win back new consumers! As usual, the end of the calendar year is no foregone conclusion! Let’s not fall asleep and continue to listen to our markets to meet their demands.

potato-planet
2019, Market chronicles

Potato market chronicle June 2019

Publication author: Michèle Adoardi pour La Pomme de Terre française Potato market chronicle June 2019 All market chronicles On the consumer market, the lack of merchandise continues to drive up prices. Today, the price of 5kg washed reaches at least €620/T. It is €600 to €630/T for 50+mm washes packed in big bags. As a reminder, last year, market prices were in the region of 130-170€/T in big bags. That’s 3 times more expensive than last year! Faced with an obvious shortage of goods, our customers don’t even try to negotiate. The rise in prices has accelerated since the beginning of April, due to the scarcity of quality and choice of products. SARL Desruelles-Courtage, a potato brokerage firm, trades around 10,000t/year mainly to Italy. Demand for Agata is still very high this year, but stocks are now depleted. Varieties such as Challenger, Orchestra and Colomba have taken over. French quality continues to seduce.