Growers Report Tight Potato Market; LIV Organic Produce and Fresh Solutions Network Comment
UNITED STATES - The fresh produce department has become an even more coveted destination for health, nutrition, and value in the midst of a nation reacting to the concerns around COVID-19. One category to keep an eye on as we look to the volatile retail space is potatoes, as the sector experiences a lift in market prices as shoppers fill their baskets with a frenzy.
“At present, supply does not meet demand in the market…not even close. Retailers should make it a priority to connect with their supplier partners for the most up-to-date details on the day-to-day developments in the market as prices continue to lift,” Anthony Innocenti, Co-Founder of LIV Organic Produce, tells me. “I foresee this being a trend in the market for the near future and definitely until the panic dies down and people get used to this temporary way of life. It is hard to predict when there will be a change in the market again, but I think this will last at least until people fill up their households to the gills with potatoes.”
Currently, LIV Organic is harvesting and shipping from growing regions throughout Oregon, Washington, and Canada.
“Our LIV Organic team works closely with retail partners to bring the most value to our relationships and the consumer, whether smooth sailing or rough seas,” Anthony reflects. “The heightened demand for potatoes in recent years has already motivated our expansion efforts and there appears to be even more demand ahead."
Kathleen Triou, President and CEO of the Fresh Solutions Network (FSN), exclusive supplier of Side Delights® fresh potatoes, echoes Anthony’s sentiments on the heightened demand and tight market as we look to the spring, sharing that demand is three times the typical March demand in years past.
“We are at a Thanksgiving level demand without any notice!” Kathleen shares. “We are primarily shipping Russets, Reds, Yellows, and Whites. Russets and Reds were already tight due to reduced supply from an early frost last year during harvest, and this run on supply will exacerbate the reduced supply tensions.”
Kathleen adds that the market in the U.S. will likely see a supply gap in Russets, Reds, and Yellows in mid to late April and early May if demand keeps at the current pace.
“Florida will supply Reds and Yellows, but it won’t be able to supply national demand,” she says. “I wish I was a futurist and could see how this will play out, but what I know from today is that many cities are being locked down—my town, San Francisco, included. This means only essential businesses like police, fire, grocery, pharmacy, gas, etc., will be allowed to stay open. People are stocking up on groceries for at least three weeks of being home-bound. Potatoes make sense for these stock-up trips as they are shelf-stable and will last at least two to three weeks in a cool, dark place. They are also nutrient-dense delivering on vitamin C, potassium, and fiber while being a crowd pleaser for the whole family.”
Currently, FSN is shipping across multiple growing regions from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and North Dakota to Maine, Florida, Prince Edward Island in Canada, and more.
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