U.S. Potato Exports Show Continued Signs Of Recovery

Published online: May 19, 2022 Articles
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With many countries around the globe relaxing restrictions and showing signs of recovery from the pandemic, demand for U.S. potato exports is strong in many markets. During the first three quarters of the marketing year (July 2021-March 2022), overall U.S. potato and potato product exports increased from the same period one year earlier.

From July 2021 to March 2022, U.S. frozen potato exports increased by nearly 3 percent in volume and 6 percent in value. Major increases for frozen shipments occurred in Canada with a 42 percent growth, the Philippines with a 25 percent growth and Myanmar with a 13 percent growth. Central America, Mexico, Japan and Vietnam also saw increases during the nine months.

These increases are a great sign of recovery in the international foodservice sector. While frozen exports were up overall, there were significant declines in shipments to Thailand by minus 36 percent, Malaysia by minus 15 percent and Saudi Arabia by minus 20 percent. These, and other markets, are still suffering from unstable supply and shipping issues. This is particularly true for Asian markets, where shipping times are much longer. Many international restaurant chains are looking to source frozen products from other origins to ensure a consistent supply. Some major operators, such as A&W and Carl’s Jr. in Thailand, are going so far as to shut down operations in the market entirely. Despite this, demand for U.S. potatoes in international markets remains high.

U.S. fresh potato exports, which include both table-stock potatoes and chipping potatoes for processing, were up during the July-March period at nearly 10 percent by volume. Value for fresh shipments increased even further by 15 percent, due to higher prices and inflation impacting the globe.

Some markets did see a drop in U.S. fresh potato shipments, including a minus 90 percent decrease in Vietnam and a minus 43 percent decrease in Thailand. Fresh exports were up in many major markets though, including the top two export markets for U.S. potatoes: Canada, where fresh shipments were up 10 percent, and Mexico, where fresh shipments increased by 13 percent. Notably, the first shipments of fresh potatoes destined for beyond the 26-kilometer border zone of Mexico have crossed the border. The U.S. potato industry continues to work through the process to create more efficiencies for future shipments. These first shipments occurred in Q4 of the marketing year and will be included in next quarter’s export report.

U.S. exports of dehydrated potatoes are not recovering at the same rate as other potato products as tight supply is limiting exports. In the first three quarters of the current marketing year, dehydrated shipments were down minus 10 percent by volume. Some of the largest drops in dehydrated potato exports compared to the previous year were in Central America (minus 55 percent), China (minus 55 percent), the Philippines (minus 43 percent) and Japan (minus 31 percent). Among these decreases, some markets did see increased shipments of U.S. dehydrated potatoes: South Korea, which saw an increase of 105 percent and Taiwan, which had an increase of 44 percent.

For details on U.S. exports, see the attached documents. Questions on the trade figures and Potatoes USA international marketing programs should be directed to Media@PotatoesUSA.com.

For the frozen report click here.

For the dehydrated report click here.

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