Fresh Produce

Each month at idc we aim to provide information on the Fresh Produce sector across the United Kingdom, Europe, and the world; we are able to advise and guide you, and your chefs of the market changes, product changes and seasonal trends to ensure you’re able to make an informed choice in line with your menu’s and budgetary requirements.
As you will be only to aware Storm Filomena impacted the Fresh Produce heavily and we saw some extreme prices following the storms in Spain; delighted to be able to confirm that prices have returned to normality with no issues relating to product availability or supply. Temperatures reaching mid 20 degrees helped thaw the snow quite quickly.

Potatoes

Planted area for potatoes may contract in 2021, with a large carry-over of stocks into 2021/22 a “distinct possibility”, AHDB Potatoes has predicted.
“In previous seasons where we have seen depressed free-buy prices, we have seen the area contract the following year,” wrote AHDB in its January 2021 Potatoes Market Outlook.
Last year, Britain produced an estimated 5.4 million tonnes of potatoes. “With the lifting window not plagued with the weather challenges of 2019, a reduced area was abandoned, and yields returned in line with the five-year average,” AHDB reported.
Grower-held potato stocks were estimated at 3.27 million tonnes at the end of November 2020. This is 12.5 per cent more than in 2019 and just under five per cent above the five-year average.
This is keeping level pricing in the marketplace. Reduced planted area for the next crop could push pricing up in the next coming season. This is all speculative and dependant on the catering trade opening back up and to what capacity.

Root Vegetables & Brassica

Recent heavy rainfall has affected crops, in particular carrots, leeks, parsnips, and turnips, which has led to several price increases; this, coupled with the recent cold snap has also prevented farmers picking some crops resulting in some overseas imports.

Salads

The recent Spanish storms had influenced all Salad prices and product quality; however, we have seen the quality return increase and prices revert to some form of normality; The Dutch salad season has now started but is limited and prices have started
The market usually switches from Spanish product to Dutch in early April depending specific product; Spanish Lettuce, Cos, Gem and Iceberg are of excellent quality currently, readily available and well-priced. The UK glass house Lettuce will not be available for at least 6 weeks
Its also worth mentioning Spanish and French Heritage Tomatoes are still available this month but we will not mover over to English Heritage Tomato until later in the year.

Exotics - Ginger

As the below charts show China has the largest export value and volume by country for Ginger; since the pandemic, prices remain high, have continued to rise are likely to increase again.

Jersey Royals

The crop is lifted as an immature, flaky-skinned product and is ready for harvest at around 12-13 weeks; harvesting began at the end of February in limited volumes and product is extremely from the glasshouses and polytunnels.
Earliest outdoor crops are available from early April with peak volumes through May and June. Supply then continues through to the end of July. The early côtils are hand-picked, having first been ploughed out of the ground using winch ploughs.

Prepared Vegetables

We will see some price fluctuations in some prepared veg lines as the raw material costs have risen, some of which are because of Storm Filomena, as well as the heavy rain in the UK.

Fruit

British Glass house strawberries will be available by the end of the month, usually snapped up by the supermarkets, with prices starting extremely high and availability very limited; for this reason, we will remain with Spanish fruit until May.
Spanish Raspberry is coming through well and is of excellent quality; the Chilean Blueberry is finishing earlier this year and we will be moving over to Spanish Blueberry which will be a little higher than average due to the additional Brexit admin costs.
Yorkshire forced Rhubarb will still be available for the month of March before we move over to the UK outdoor where we will see prices dropping.
Most of the UK apple varieties will be finishing their cold store supplies; Cox apples will be available for another month or so, but expect prices to increase; Bramley apple is available all year round and prices rise the closer we get to the new season starting in August
Stone fruit – Peach and Nectarine are coming from Chile; this is not eating fruit and we would advise purchasing for cooking only. There is a good supply of South African plums and a few varieties such as Purple Majesty, Black Diamond and Sapphire.
After the recent prices increases of the Red Grape following shortages of South African fruit, we now have a few varieties to choose from; Starlight, Sweet Sapphire and the stunning black coloured Midnight Beauty.

Fresh ginger root or rhizome isolated on white background cutout

Exotics - Garlic

The extremely cold weather conditions in China late last year, and early this year, are impacting garlic production, leading to expectations of high prices; as China remains a dominant force within the garlic industry, the price increase will impact several countries that rely heavily on Chinese imports.
China has reached record low temperatures in decades, reaching as low as -19 degrees Celsius in the capital city of Beijing; this is expected to hit garlic crops, where harvests will take place in the summer, which will potentially see prices spike again.

Garlic

A Lookback on Chinese Garlic in 2020

For 2020, Chinese garlic fared well, with nearly record levels of exports at 1.72 million tons, indicating a 32.3% increase from the previous year, according to Produce Report. Indonesia, for example, saw a 185% increase in imports of Chinese garlic in May 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
Garlic prices soared in February, as the onslaught of the coronavirus created complications within the supply chain such as temporary labour shortages. Domestic demand increased as well, as garlic is known to have immunity-boosting properties.

Buyer's Choice - Golden and Candy Beetroot

Difference: Golden Beets are less sweet than Red Beets, but also have a more mellow and less earthy flavour all around; if nothing else, golden beets add a bright, zesty yellow colour when served roasted or in salads, they are also nice to add to a pan of roasted vegetables since they don’t stain everything pink the way Red Beets can.

Origin: Golden Beetroot is an Heirloom beetroot variety that was bred in the USA in the early part of the 19th century.
Candy beetroot, also known as Chioggia Beetroot, are an Italian heirloom variety native to Chioggia, Italy, and were first discovered in 1840; the root was then spread to the rest of Europe and introduced to the United States in the 1860s.

Culinary Uses: Use Golden Beetroot as a stain-free alternative anyway you would normally use Red Beetroot; great cooked and sliced in salads and sandwiches, roasted or pickled, young leaves are also edible raw in salads, and older leaves can be cooked as a green vegetable. Golden Beetroots retain their sweetness and remain tender even when they are left in the ground to mature longer than ideal.

Fact – Solution to Fatigue and Anaemia: Golden Beetroot is rich of minerals especially iron, Golden Beets are excellent and natural solution to fatigue and anaemia and are better than consuming iron supplement.

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