United States bracing for possible French fry shortage

Darnell Taylor
December 4, 2019

The United States could be facing a French fry shortage due to a poor potato crop, according to a Bloomberg report.

Despite cold weather affecting some of this year's crop, Frank Muir, president and CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission, said he's not too anxious.

Frosts stunted the growth of the long potatoes which are preferable for making French fries, and retailers are importing foreign stocks to make up for it.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts that potato production will drop a little over 6% this year. That's the lowest it's been since 2010.

Potato producers told the news outlet that they are attempting to purchase potatoes from across the continent after multiple harvests in Canada and the US were ruined.

In Canada, the land of poutine, officials are expected to release estimates for potato yields on December 6.

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Travis Blacker, industry-relations director with the Idaho Potato Commission, said an increase in demand for French fries has also caused supplies to be lower. By the time the frost hit in October, Idaho farmers had harvested about 85 percent of their crop. Then you better start stocking up on potatoes.

"Even though the weather took a bit of a top off our crop, we still are harvesting probably in the neighborhood of 13 billion pounds of potatoes", Muir told CNN.

In other words, there may be no greater gift this year than asking someone: "Do you want fries with that?" Voigt says many fast-food restaurants in Asia are going to western-style fast-food restaurants.

French fries are seen on a shelf above deep fryer in this undated stock photo.

"The consumer will see French fries", MacIsaac said. "Potatoes are. 20 percent more expensive than a year ago and frozen fries up 17 per cent from a year ago".

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