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

Daniel Fowler
December 3, 2019

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

The US Department of Agriculture estimates a 6.1 percent drop in potato output - the lowest since 2010 - and the United Potato Growers of Canada estimate that 18 percent of Manitoba's potato plants will go unharvested.

The U.S. may face a French fry shortage due to a poor potato crop caused by cold and wet weather this year, Bloomberg reported Monday.

As for the small portion of crops that managed to weather the storm, the spuds grew much smaller which are harder to cut into the classic fry form.

Potato crop yields dropped in areas like Alberta, Colorado, Idaho, Manitoba, North Dakota, and Minnesota due to cold weather snaps between September and November.

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USA potato producers are having to turn to foreign producers to help make up for the loss.

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

"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.

Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada, added: 'Potatoes are going to have to move from one channel to another that they sometimes don't move in a normal year'.

The bad carb crop weather began in October, when a frost forced farmers in Alberta, Canada, and Idaho to dig up and store their damaged crop.

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