U.S. facing possible french fry shortage due to weak potato harvest

Marco Green
December 3, 2019

Domestic output this year will see a 6.1% decline, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is the lowest since 2010.

He told Bloomberg: 'French fry demand has just been outstanding lately, and so supplies can't meet the demand'.

Bloomberg reported that retailers were after long potatoes to make their french fries, but there have been fewer of those as the cold weather has stunted their growth and destroyed some crop yields altogether.

"French-fry demand has just been outstanding lately, and so supplies can't meet the demand", Travis Blacker, the industry-relations director with the Idaho Potato Commission, told Bloomberg.

Much of this year's potato crop has been damaged by cold, wet weather - and potato processors are now in a frenzy to buy and ship the product across North America, so french fries can stay on menus, Bloomberg reports.

Cool conditions in October lashed potatoes with frost in growing regions like Idaho, North Dakota, Minnesota and Canada.

Farmers in Alberta and Idaho were reportedly able to dig up some of the damaged crops for storage before they were completely ruined.

Even Idaho, the top producer in the USA, is forecast to fall 5.5% in potato production. Manitoba and Alberta are the second- and third-largest growers in Canada, respectively, and the government is expected to release crop estimates Friday.

Canada increased fry-processing capacity that boosted demand, but with limited supplies that could lead to a possible poutine shortage.

Worse still, crop damage means the potatoes' growth has been stunted.

A potato harvesting machine digging up potatoes in a field in Idaho Falls.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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