December 2019

Fresh Produce

Great buys this month include Savoy cabbage, which is at a good size and excellent value for money, as well as pumpkins, which are still plentiful and well-priced as a result. Sweet potatoes from South America are also good value at this time of year. Onions are now in abundance and are down in price.

Sweet potatoes from South America are also good value at this time of year. Onions are now in abundance and are down in price.

With the seasonal change to southern hemisphere production of grapes and melons, we’re seeing resulting price increases. Similarly, as the Spanish season ends and the Moroccan season begins, satsumas and clementine’s are up in price.

As the British broccoli, cauliflower and iceberg lettuce seasons end and the Spanish season starts, prices are rising. Strawberries are also seeing price increases as the English season ends.

Lemon and lime prices are on the up as well, as the Spanish growing season finishes.

UK Flooding – Despite the months of wet weather and recent devastating flooding in the UK taking their toll on potato and chantenay carrot crops, we will be holding prices for December.

Meat & Poultry

Pork: African Swine Flu continues to affect the global pig market with demand from China showing no signs of slowing down. This is having an inevitable impact on UK prices and, together with the increasing demand for gammon and bacon in the run up to Christmas, we’re expecting average prices to continue to increase modestly.

Beef: Despite the recent deadweight price decline, according to AHDB figures, factors such as especially high export demand for EU beef are influencing UK prices. Notably, China’s appetite for protein continues, with suppliers being approved for export from various nations including the UK.
Steak cuts and roasting joints will be creeping up in price as we get closer to the Christmas period.

Lamb: UK lamb prices have seen some movement upwards in the last few weeks with exports rising and lack of imports coming in. New Zealand imports to the UK are down by 20%, with exports to China up 18%. Imported lamb has seen a considerable rise in recent weeks which in turn puts pressure on UK producer pricing.

Poultry – Chicken pricing remains firm but stable. Turkey pricing has been challenging this year; since May we have seen price increases of around 30%. This is due to major producers stopping or reducing turkey production and, with no product coming in from South America, UK producers have seen pricing rise sharply. Overall production in the UK and EU is down 20%.

Dairy

There is starting to be a significant rise in protein prices, basically powder price. Butter is still at the low end and if cream starts to accelerate in price, then this will hit farm gate hard and there will be significant movement upwards in raw milk. Fat price remains low, although very stable.

The latest GDT Auction saw all New Zealand prices increasing, apart from a slight drop in cheddar. SMP prices rose by 6.7%, to just short of $3000 per tonne, equivalent to an increase of €190 per tonne. Recently European butter has been averaging around €3600 per tonne and fresh cream has risen by €200 per tonne (100% solids) to €4500 per tonne. There doesn’t seem to be any sign of EU butter breaking back above €4000 per tonne, but increases are likely.

UK prices should track the continent at least until Christmas and by then we might have an answer to Brexit. AHDB are already showing AMPE & MCVE above 30ppl and these could creep higher into December.

Many thanks to Arthur Dunne from Pensworth for these dairy insights.