Chips (processing) factories have experienced an unprecedented growth in recent months. “Everyone expected that the price for chips potatoes would decrease in the new year, but that appears not to be the case. The mood is quite positive,” says Bram Werkman from wholesaler Landjuweel. However, the potato wholesaler does think it might be a threat to the table potato market. “For cultivators it is very interesting to cultivate for industry because you then go for the most kilograms with the lowest tare. A cultivator has to do much more for table potatoes. And that brings risks with it, especially when prices can barely even reach those of chips potatoes. The image is that we in the Netherlands get fewer table potatoes, and I also expect a shift in Belgium.” There will be a healthy tension on the potato market until July, at least, Werkman expects.
“Average quality of the potatoes is less good than last year, causing more batches to be lost, and that will result in more work. Additionally, sales are just going well, which is often the case when weather conditions are like this. That causes some scarcity here and there. The Belgians are surprisingly active in the Netherlands as well. They have even more scarcity than we do.”
Will any potatoes be left at the end of the season? “I have never experienced that we were completely out of potatoes. A batch will always turn up somewhere,” Werkman laughs. “There will be some pressure when import countries such as Israel start earlier, but nothing has happened yet in countries such as Spain and Portugal, so they will come on the market later in any case. It will be a bit tense until the summer. After that, the early German and Dutch harvests will arrive, and we will have to wait and see what will happen next.”
A high potato price therefore seems a given. “But what are high potato prices? Consumers look at it very differently. In the past, it could not be more than five guilder for five kilograms, but that has changed somewhat now that small packaging has taken over. But we can be certain that there is still life in the potato market,” Werkman concludes.
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