French fry processors in North America could run into supply problems as they use up the last of the 2019 crop before the new crop is ready, the Aug. 26 issue of North American Potato Market News (NAPM) says.
Processors had been expecting to using potatoes from the 2019 crop throughout September and possibly into October. However, the last of those potatoes should be cleaned up by this weekend.
“If finished product demand continues to run five per cent below the pre-pandemic normal, or if it continues to improve, fryers will need to find large blocks of open raw potatoes to keep their customers supplied until the 2021 harvest gets under way,” the report says.
Contract volumes for the 2020 crop were reduced by 15 to 20 per cent due to the global COVID-19 pandemic in the spring.
European processors are opposite of their North American counterparts. They have been using potatoes from the 2019 crop longer than usual, with processing pace running 11.5 per cent behind last year’s pace.
Though hot, dry weather has been an issue for most of Europe’s major potato growing areas, 2020 potato production could exceed the 2019 crop by 1.9 per cent, the report notes.