Aviko Analyst Sees Stable to Higher Potato Prices Ahead
As industrial producers of french fries and other value added potato products generally shift to raw materials from new harvests between now and July, Jan Willem Peters of Aviko Potato reckons that late March is a good time to conclude an “interim balance sheet” for the 2015 crop. His unit is responsible for the purchase, logistics and quality management of all tubers processed at the Aviko Group’s five factories in the Netherlands, and is closely involved with the cultivation of potatoes bound for plants in Germany, Belgium, Poland, Sweden and China. The company annually processes approximately 1,700,000 tons of spuds into frozen, chilled and dehydrated potato products.
Peters observed: “We've seen potato prices rise gradually since December thanks to increased demand for processed potato products from emerging food markets, the slightly lower dry matter (resulting in lower yield per ton) of the 2015 crop, and lower potato stocks in EU countries. The big question is: will the potato supply last until the next crop is ready?”
Over the last four months, northwestern Europe has had more rainfall than usual, amounting to over 50mm of precipitation above average for the same period during the previous five years. This, coupled with below “normal” temperatures, makes for less than ideal soil structure.
In southern Europe the early ware potato crop is slightly later than usual, but it's unlikely that demand for exports will affect processors or the industrial potato market in the EU.
Increased hedging has resulted in a decrease in volume available on the free market. Therefore, figures the Aviko analyst, if there is a shortage among one or more players in the potato processing sector the result could be rising prices of free market potatoes and higher quotes for contracted tubers in day trading markets.
“The continued demand from processors and the fairly tight supply of European potato stocks will result in stable to higher prices over the coming months. The demand for additional volume, however, is moderate – meaning predicted April deliveries are in line with today's spot potato market quotations,” concluded Peters.
New Jacket Potatoes
Meanwhile, on the new product front, Aviko has introduced large and extra large Jacket Potatoes to the foodservice sector. Distributed in frozen form, they are ready to heat, top and serve, providing operators with a convenient platform to consistently make quality dishes to meet the lunchtime rush and other periods of high demand.
Ready to plate after just six minutes of microwaving, the pre-cooked British Jackets are slow baked in advance, serving up a speedier solution to traditional jacket potatoes and ensuring oven-baked flavor. Among suggested toppings are classic cheese and beans, tuna mayonnaise, gourmet spiced lamb and roasted vegetables.
Large Jacket Potatoes are available in 4 x 1.5kg boxes, while the extra large option comes in 4 x 1.86kg boxes. Each may be prepared in a conventional or microwave oven, as well as in a combi-steamer.