United States bracing for possible French fry shortage

Andrew Cummings
December 4, 2019

Unusually cold and wet weather during the potato harvest season has left some growers in the USA and Canada unable to harvest a significant portion of their crop.

You could also try eating a salad on the side - unless you're ride-or-die for the greasy, crispy taste of a fry.

Now, processors across North America are rushing to find potatoes from additional sources to keep up with the increasing demand for fries, in news first reported by Bloomberg.

The United Potato Growers of Canada told Bloomberg that about 18% of the potato harvest had to be abandoned this year.

Idaho, the top potato producer in the U.S., had an estimated production fall of 5.5%, while other states had even more monumental drops. Ag experts say excessive cold and wet weather put the squeeze on spuds in leading potato producing regions like Idaho, Colorado, North Dakota, Maine and Oregon.

"Production of potatoes for the 2019 crop year is forecast at 422 million cwt [22.4 million tons], down 6% from last year", the Department of Agriculture said on November 8.

"Potatoes are going to have to move from one channel to another that they sometimes don't move in a normal year", Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the UPGC, told Bloomberg. And those potatoes were of good quality.

In other words, there may be no greater gift this year than asking someone: "Do you want fries with that?"

Cold weather has damaged potato yields in the U.S., which is now threatening the availability of French fries, Bloomberg reported.

"[Fast food restaurants] look at that menu board as sacrosanct", Stephen Nicholson, a grains and oilseeds analyst at Rabo AgriFinance, told CNN. "Several farmers left potatoes in the ground to avoid the cost of digging them up".

Other reports by iNewsToday