2016 was another year of lower production in Great Britain but also on mainland Europe, despite increased plantings, according to a recent AHDB report. Coupled with the change in the currency situation since the Brexit vote, this will bring international trade into focus. “Strong export opportunities created by the currency situation could continue to be an attractive option for GB growers, if the demand is there. Consumer retail demand for fresh potatoes is steady and for processed potato products demand remains strong,” said Strategy Director, AHDB Potatoes, Rob Clayton. Imports of seed, fresh and processed potatoes were all higher in 2015/16 than 2014/15, due to greater import requirements, given the reduced domestic supply. The majority of processed potato products and seed imports were sourced from the Netherlands, with fresh imports from France, states the report.
The report also states that the British foodservice market continued to experience growth in the year ending June 2016, with total food servings up 2.8%. Out-of-home potato servings were down marginally, due to the performance of crisps and roast potatoes. Chips continue to register growth and now account for two thirds of all potato servings out of home. Crisps have been most affected by a decline in servings through quick service restaurants and travel and leisure outlets (such as hotels and service stations). Snacking as a whole, while consumers are out of home, is in decline and this is likely to have affected the performance of crisps.