Blemishes and higher prices at the same time: Consumers are now also feeling the effects of the drought on the potato market. However, nobody has to worry about empty shelves.

This is how consumers want their potatoes.  At the moment they also have to make do with less beautiful specimens.

Nafter massive crop losses due to the drought, potato prices have risen by more than half. At the moment, customers in the supermarket have to pay around 84 cents per kilogram for potatoes in small packs. A year ago it was 55 cents, according to Christoph Hambloch, an analyst at the Agricultural Market Information Service (AMI) in Bonn. Prices could continue to rise in the spring.

Consumers would also have to be prepared for a larger range of visually not entirely flawless potatoes that would have been sorted out by the farms in years with better harvests. In view of the current scarcity, there are currently more bulbs with dark spots or scab pustules on the supermarket shelves. However, these are exclusively purely visual defects that have no influence on the consumption of the potatoes, according to Hambloch.

No supply bottleneck

Despite a decline in the table potato harvest in Germany by 1.5 to 2.0 million tons, there are no supply bottlenecks to be feared. After the good year 2017, however, many farms could fall back on surpluses. In addition, there would be fewer potato exports and higher imports, especially for early potatoes in the coming year.

Potato farmers who would have had a significant harvest despite the drought could currently benefit from significantly higher prices. The producer prices doubled from 10 euros to 25 to 26 euros per quintal.

Problems could arise for farmers who have already sold their crops in advance at fixed prices, said Hambloch. These do not benefit from the higher prices, but can only sell significantly lower quantities. Even with further processors such as peeling companies, the situation is sometimes dramatic, especially in eastern Germany.