The February 2023 processing potato usage release from Vavi, the Dutch potato processors union, pegged February potato usage at 334 thousand tonnes, the highest figure for the month since 2017. Season to date usage (August-February) came in at 2.33 million tonnes, the highest usage at this point in the season since 2016/17.
European potato prices have been underpinned by strong export demand for processed potato products over the course of the season, along with reduced supply of raw material. In January 2023, the NEPG estimated 2022/23 potato production in the NEPG zone (Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands) at 21.7 million tonnes, a decline of 5% year-on-year (y-o-y).
The prices for processing potatoes continue to trend at multi-year highs, with the Mintec Benchmark Prices for processing potatoes EXW Netherlands [Mintec Code: PO29] assessed at €30/100kg on 21st March 2023, an increase of 53% compared to the same point last season.
There are some initial indications that global fry demand may be starting to ease amid higher prices for finished products, but market participants expected prices for raw materials to remain strong throughout the remainder of the season.