Price Outlook Is Down for Fresh But not for Processed Potatoes
From January to July, potato prices are about $1.18 per cwt lower on average than in 2011. Fresh-market prices are down by around $2.75 per cwt thus far, whereas processing prices are slightly ahead by 22 cents. These changes are due in part to more shipments for fresh sales, which are up 7.5 percent to date.
Although shipments to processors are similarly up, seed shipments are down. If these price changes hold until December 2012, prices for fresh potatoes are projected to average $10 per cwt and processing potatoes will average $8.06 per cwt. Overall, potato prices in 2012 are expected to be around $8.23 per cwt nationally, about equal to 2009 prices.
Producer prices for frozen fried potatoes and potato chips are estimated to be about 11 percent higher on average than in 2011. he disposition of the 2011 crop shows a second year of a higher share for processing potato sales (66.7 percent) and a lower share for table stock (25.8 percent). The sales share for seed and feed use remains unchanged at 5.7 percent.
The long-term trend for relative utilization is up for frozen fries and down for other frozen potatoes. The market shares for chips and starch/flour/meal are also on the rise relative to preserved and canned products, which are down.
Based on 2.6-percent more stocks from January to July compared to 2011, stocks of frozen potatoes are projected to be slightly larger in 2012. These products in cold storage are down thus far in the West Coast facilities but up in the rest of the country, especially in the East Coast. Public warehouses, which store about three quarters of frozen potato products, have accommodated 4 percent more stocks through July.