The UK Potato Processors’ Association (PPAUK), representing crisp and french fry manufacturers, issued an official response to a British government announcement of support for farmers during dry weather, saying that whilst this is an important step, it will not in itself resolve the issue. “The reality is that the UK potato processing sector faces significant challenges this year, resulting from the current weather conditions, and especially as a result of the 10 consecutive days in July where recorded temperatures rose above 30⁰C,” the statement says. Whilst it is too early to give a definitive view of the impact on the yield and size of this year’s crop, the Association remarks that it is clear that volumes will be significantly lower than average, and it is extremely likely that there will be serious issues in terms of availability of potatoes that are suitable for processing.
“We believe that there will be an impact on potato size, dry matter and potentially an increase in defects such as cracking and bruising. It is also likely that there will be less crop going into storage, and not all stored crops will be of optimum quality. This will mean that impacts for UK potato processors will last well into the first half of 2019.”
Similar weather conditions have been observed across mainland Europe, and it will limit surplus materials available for import. UK potato processors will of course take a pragmatic and flexible approach wherever possible, but we are limited to a certain extent by legislation and physical characteristics of specific varieties used for crisps and French fry production.”
(Source: UK Potato Processors’ Association)