Potato market chronicle May 2020

Publication author: Silvana Paolozzi – Ets Jacques Albert

Potato market chronicle May 2020

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.