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Chinese increase potato consumption but frozen imports fall

Tue 24/11/2020 by Richard Wilkinson
Large French potato crop

China’s MY2020/21 fresh potato production is projected up 3% to 99 million tons, mainly due to expanded acreage. According to Chinese customs data, China’s 2020/21 frozen french fries (FFF) production is forecast to rise 10% to 330,000 tons in response to increased domestic demand.  China’s MY2020/21 FFF imports are predicted to drop 10% to 96,000 tons, following importers concerns regarding testing for Covid-19 on imported frozen foods.

According to the 2020 China Agricultural Outlook Report, over the next ten years, China’s potato production area will increase by an average of 0.4% annually. In addition, thanks to increased yields, potato production is expected to increase by an average of 0.9% annually for the next ten years.

China’s overall potato consumption remains stable but a slight increase is forecast over the next decade. The processing sector accounts for about 10% of China’s total fresh potato consumption.  About 12% of potatoes are used for seed potatoes, 5% for feed, with storage loss accounting for 13%.

China’s 2020/21 FFF imports are forecast down 10% to 96,000 tons. This drop comes off the back of a 26% fall in imported volumes in 2019/20. The US was the largest FFF exporter to China in MY2019/20, although its market share has fallen from 66% to 44% due to price competition from the EU. The next largest importers, Turkey, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada and Germany together accounted for 52% of China’s FFF imports in MY2019/20. 

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