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 on the market changes, product changes and seasonal trends to ensure you are able to make an informed choice in line with your menus and budgetary requirements.
With the long-awaited return of indoor hospitality, increased dining options could bring demand to the potato market as a whole. ‘Restocking’ demand in preparation could ramp up and there have been early reports of increased trade to restaurants.
We can expect to see salad potato prices increase over June as we come to the end of the season. Some will have to rely on imported which will push prices up and it’s worth keeping an eye on quality.
Chipping potatoes will also increase in price as we wait for the new season to start. This potato isn’t cold-stored as it affects the cooking properties and reduces its shelf life. If not kept ambient it will negatively affect their taste.
When potatoes are chilled to below 5 to 8° Celsius, their starches become sugars, known as reducing sugars. These reducing sugars are the main cause of the brown discolouration, bitter taste and limpness of chips and fries if the potatoes are reheated incorrectly after storage. This is known as the Maillard reaction.
Parsnips are reaching the end of their season and we will be relying on Spanish imports until mid-July. The shelf life will be shorter, so lower stock levels might be wise.
We are still relying on imported carrots, so again stock levels need to be kept tight. The UK Season will start again in mid-June, so we should see and availability return to normal levels.
Leeks remain short while we wait for the new UK season to start. This is expected from mid-June onwards, depending on the growing region.
There is a good supply of UK Cauliflower coming through, and the UK broccoli is starting to make an appearance, although the Spanish are still the dominant season for the next few weeks.
We will start to see Savoy cabbage from Norfolk coming through with Northern growers starting mid to late June, all-weather pending.
UK red and white cabbage will be finishing and we will be using imported Dutch mainly until the new season starts in July. The cabbages tend to be very large and less graded than the UK supply.
Spanish peach, nectarine, plum, cherry and apricot is now well underway and in good supply and quality.
Citrus fruit is moving to mostly Southern Hemisphere supply so we will see a reduction in the availability of oranges, easy peelers and grapefruit. The quality is excellent.
Spanish Mercia Melons will be making an appearance and the volume of supply will be a lot better.
UK salads are coming through well now as each week passes more become available. The quality is also better than the depleting Spanish.
UK herbs are also available, but we are still relying on Israeli, Kenyan and Spanish imports to make the volume and the varieties.
The price of milk has gone up and further increases are expected on the farmgate price over the next two months.
There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, since the start of 2021, the cost of milk poly-bottles has seen extraordinary inflation and disruption to supply. China controls a significant share (29%) of the global high-density polyethene market (HDPE). However, China is both a high producer and high user of HDPE. Despite moves to increase supply, this will remain a problem for some time.
Elsewhere, extreme weather in Texas (where a significant crop of polymer plants is located) has impacted the availability of raw materials whilst a major processing plant in Europe has been closed for an extended period. As a consequence, the Platts index, which measures the price for HDPE, has increased by some 60% since Dec 20.
These unprecedented changes have been accompanied by price increases for the board needed to load the poly-bottles as well as cost increases on shrink-wrapping and fuel.
The recent opening of the catering industry has had a big impact on cultivated mushrooms. Mushrooms can take up to 4- 6 weeks to grow so the recently increased volume impact will take a while to meet the current uptrend in sales.
Each month our experts highlight a particular item and provide a little more (too much) information for you to dazzle (bore) your friends. This month: mushrooms!
The mushroom is composed of two parts, the above-ground part, and the underground part. Each part has its unique function and purpose in the life cycle of a mushroom.
The 4 body parts to the mushroom –
- Spores: seeds that act as the mushrooms reproductive system. They are usually released into the air and fall on the ground to start the mushroom’s life cycle.
- Stem: A soft branch supporting the mushroom’s cap.
- Gill: Located under the cap, these produce the spore of the mushroom.
- Mycelium: This part of the mushroom is somewhere between a root, digestive system and breeding ground for spores. Mycelium networks can be most commonly seen in fairy ring mushroom colonies.