Product Update: Potatoes

Following on from our previous article “The Woes of Potatoes”, we must now address this escalating issue again.



As we outlined in March, wet weather and saturated fields create difficulties in harvesting the crop from the ground. We’re now seeing the real effects of this problem, as old season stores are running very low.

The weather has not been kind to our farmers. Rain is not letting up, and when it does, it only stays dry for a day or two until the downpours continue. Paul Hamilton, an eighth-generation grower from Co Down, has said “Speaking to my father and from my own experience, we’ve had plenty of wet summers, plenty of wet winters, we’ve had plenty of wet springs. But never in living memory have we had a wet summer, a wet winter, a wet autumn followed by a wet spring, so this is a complete anomaly.”


Our new season crops have been delayed as our farmers had to delay harvesting, which in turn delays planting and so on. For example, in Cornwall, farmers were only able to start planting in late April, 2 months behind schedule, which will in turn delay harvesting. Which again is all dependent on the weather!


Alongside this, there’s also the issue of a reduced number of hectares being set aside for potato plantings. Tom Pocklington, Production Director at AKP Crop has said, “Back in 1995, there were 30,000 potato farmers, now there are just 1,200 due to the cost of production being too high for smaller farms.”


These two factors combined really showcase why we are having to rely more and more on imports until our UK market stabilises. Key places include the EU, Israel and Egypt, which is even being reflected in the retailers who are removing the Union Jack off some of the potato products to continue supply.

However, it’s not just the UK who are experiencing frustrations with potatoes. Our colleagues in Europe have also had to delay planting due to the time it took to finally harvest after the wet weather.

This doesn’t just apply to potatoes, as an industry we’ve seen the biggest impact on products such as parsnips, cauliflower, and onions than we have in a very long time, if ever.


We are seeing glimmers of hope in areas where the soil is lighter, as they have been able to initiate planting earlier than those with heavier soil due to the drainage advantage. However, this is still more delayed than we are used to.


The outlook for the summer period is looking pretty dark. To ensure a consistent supply, our suppliers are endeavouring to utilise different varieties and countries of origin, to ensure our customers receive their order requirements.



Reach out to our team today for any questions you may have.


Office: 01789 339106

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References and further reading:
The Grocer: Potato industry warns of ‘spudflation’ and shortages
Potato News Today: Ireland and Europe face challenges in potato planting due to unpredictable weather
ITV: Potato farmer could lose a couple of hundred thousand with warning of shortage
Arkpro: Potato market update 2024
Express: British farmer potato warning: Poor harvest
Fresh Produce Journal: Improved weather boosts NI potato sector

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