Saturday, 18 January, 2020

Farmers warn of possible french fry starvation and smaller spuds

The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts domestic output will drop 6.1 per cent this year to the lowest since 2010.
Postmedia The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts domestic output will drop 6.1 per cent this year to the lowest since 2010. Postmedia
Ginger Lawrence | 04 December, 2019, 05:21

But this year, the amount of potatoes produced and harvested is down in some of the top-producing states, including Idaho, Oregon, and North Dakota.

Cool conditions in October crippled some potato harvests with frost, likely increasing prices in potatoes and even a possible french fry shortage in the United States, according to Bloomberg.

The lost crops come at a time when Canada has boosted its demand for potatoes, Bloomberg said.

That means smaller and fewer potatoes, and smaller spuds are harder for french fry processors.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that domestic potato output will drop as much as 6.1% this year, marking the lowest potato harvest since 2010, and for Idaho, the largest producer of potatoes, will reportedly see their crop drop by 5.5%.

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

"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.

"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. Then you better start stocking up on potatoes.

In other words, there may be no greater gift this year than asking someone: "Do you want fries with that?" Tight supplies and a hike in potato prices across North America is expected to follow, according to the news outlet.

French fries are seen on a shelf above deep fryer in this undated stock photo. "Several farmers left potatoes in the ground to avoid the cost of digging them up".