BusinessMarkets & PricingCOVID Resurgence Causing Uncertain Fry Demand Outlook

COVID Resurgence Causing Uncertain Fry Demand Outlook

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As cases of COVID-19 surge again in Europe, there are questions about how it will affect North American french fry export demand, the Nov. 4 issue of North American Potato Market News (NAPM) says.

The report notes the pandemic could reduce global french fry demand overall. It could also slow European fry production which could shift more demand to North America.

“We will not understand all the implications until after the fact. What we do know is that the pandemic has elevated uncertainties in potato markets to an unprecedented level.”

During the third quarter exports of North American frozen potato products fell 25.3 per cent this year compared to last, the report says. Canada did however post a 9.5 per cent gain for total exports, including a 16.6 per cent increase in shipments to the United States, but exports to other countries were down 31.2 per cent.

“The increase reflects increased processing capacity in Alberta and Manitoba. However, it will be difficult for processors to maintain that level of product flow during the next twelve months, due to raw product supply constraints resulting from disappointing crops in Manitoba and in the Canadian Maritime Provinces.”

Fryers are still purchasing open potatoes in Idaho. It is believed they have purchased close to four million cwt so far, the report notes. However, they may still need to buy another three to four million cwt.

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