Grower opinion: Instilling confidence for a successful British potato industry

Confidence throughout the supply chain is key to a sustainable potato industry, but how can growers, processors and packers ensure consistent productivity and regular investment in an ever-changing marketplace? The challenges associated with the UK potato sector are not new; a high turnover of varieties, changing consumer habits and hugely volatile commodity prices all add to the complexity of the industry, not to mention the more recent curveball – Brexit. Rufus Pilgrim, managing director of one of the UK’s leading suppliers and packers of potatoes, Yorkshire-based R S Cockerill, has been exposed to the difficulties and opportunities surrounding the industry for 25 years. Prompted by a concern about potato supply, in 2016 Mr Pilgrim decided to complete a Nuffield scholarship entitled ‘The future of the UK potato industry – learnings from successful supply models’. More