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Potato Varieties in Great Britain in 2017: Maris Piper still King, New Retail Varieties see growth

In Great Britain, Maris Piper is still by a wide margin the most grown potato variety.

British potato growers have planted an increased area of emerging varieties to serve the fresh packing market, amid reports of increased levels of 'on-contract' supermarket supply where prices are agreed in advance.

However, Maris Piper comfortably remains the most planted potato, with three times more area than the next most popular fresh packing variety.
 

Top 10 potato varieties in Great Britain, 2017.
(Source: AHDB; *2017 figures are provisional)

The varieties that have gained the most area this season are fresh packing potatoes Nectar and Melody, which increased their area by 1,000 hectares (ha) and 700 ha respectively. Both are more recent introductions to the UK market than Estima, which has decreased in area by an estimated 400 ha this season.
 

Great Britain Potato varieties changes by area, 2017: Top winners and losers
(Source: AHDB; *2017 figures are provisional)

Amber Cottingham, AHDB Potatoes Market Intelligence Analyst:
 
“The packing market has seen another increase in area this season, with acreage intended for processing declining once more.”

“This may be due to a reported increase in contracts offered in the packing market as retailers seek to reduce the financial fluctuations they encounter in meeting demand.”

“There continues to be some changes in the top 10 list, as newer varieties designed to suit today’s needs – both at an agronomic and consumer level – continue to increase in popularity.”

“Likewise, some of the biggest losers this year are older varieties, which are being replaced by newer alternatives.”
 

Estimated area planted with potatoes in Great Britain by intended market sector, 2017
(Source: AHDB; *2017 figures are provisional)

Overall the area planted that is intended to supply the fresh retail sector has increased for the second year in a row to an estimated 38 per cent of the total planted area in Great Britain, while the area planted to serve the processing sector has decreased, also for the second year running, to 29 per cent.

Amber Cottingham:
 
“Area changes can be closely linked to the price paid the previous season.”

“For the packing sector, this has likely had an impact, as many prices were favourable during the 2015/16 and much of the 2016/17 season, up to the point when planting decisions would have been taking place.”
The estimate is produced using anonymised and aggregated data from AHDB levy return forms, which is analysed through an ISO controlled process.
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