As the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown caused restaurants across to close to slow the spread of the virus earlier this year, it is now expected french fry processing plants in the United States are likely to have packed 10 per cent few frozen potato products in the year ending May 31, the July 8 issue of North American Potato Market News (NAPM) says.
“Raw product supply constraints will limit production regardless of any rebound in demand for finished product,” the report notes.
The main hazard to this outlook is if U.S. potato yields are above the 20-year high this year it would generate raw product which could be used to offset some of this year’s contract volume reductions, the report says.
The contract volume reductions by fry processors will limit their ability to process potatoes over the next year. Fryers are expecting to have a substantial backup supply of potatoes to fall back on if needed. However, based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s acreage data, supplies of open potatoes available for the processing industry will be limited.
“Therefore, NAPMN believes that processors will only use 174.0 million cwt of U.S. potatoes for purposes other than dehydration between June 1, 2020 and May 31, 2021. That is 19.3 million cwt less than they used during the previous year, a 10 per cent reduction. The projected processing use would be the lowest for the June-May period since the 2015/16 processing season.”