Shifts in potato varieties planted in Great Britain
The updated value is 2.1Kha below the first August estimate (119.4Kha).
The revised estimate represents the GB area covered by over 90% of producers, and reflects both lasts years high production and challenging market conditions, coupled with the difficulties in planting in spring. Despite the fall in the overall GB area, there continues to be change within the sector.
Potato Varieties planted in Great Britain this year
Movement was seen within the top 10 potato varieties this year, although the top three most widely grown varieties have retained their position.
Top ten potato varieties grown in Great Britain in 2018 (Courtesy: AHDB Potatoes)
The traditional all-round variety is losing ground as change is being seen in the kitchen table white packing market.
Maris Piper remains by far the most popular variety in Great Britain, although the area has undergone a third consecutive year of decline
Growers could be opting to choose to grow on contract for specific sectors rather than choosing a more versatile variety such as Maris Piper. Another, and perhaps more influential, reason could relate to agronomic factors, with Maris Piper not performing as well in relation to scab and rots as newer, more resistant, varieties.
Nectar climbed two places to become the fourth most widely grown potato variety in Great Britain, rising 500 ha on the year to 3700 ha. Positive reports about the yield potential and packing market demand for Nectar are likely to have driven the area increase.
The potato variety Nectar climbed two places to become the fourth most widely grown potato variety in Great Britain
A long term trend developing has been a shift in demand for contracted and specialised crisping and French fry varieties.
Top 50 potato varieties in Great BritainShifts in the top 50 potato varieties in Great Britain, from 2013-2018 (pdf)
Other crisping varieties, such as Taurus, have seen an increase during this period. This signals a shift in varietal preferences, as the retail market looks for innovation and premium products requiring different characteristics.
Additionally, purchasing behaviour has been shifting, in the crisping market there has been a gaining popularity for crops sold off the field over short term storage.
Royal, a popular variety for the contracted French fries market has seen one of largest rises on the year
Its rising popularity is linked to reportedly better agronomic qualities over rival frying varieties.