French fries shortage possibly looming after potato crops damaged by weather

The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts domestic output will drop 6.1 per cent this year to the lowest since 2010.
Postmedia

Cold weather and poor yields have produced a lighter-than-normal potato crop this year in North America's potato hotbeds, according to a report from Bloomberg.

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.

The potato crop forecast in the U.S.is at the lowest since 2010, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

Some farmers in Alberta, Canada and Idaho were able to salvage some of the crops but those in Manitoba, Canada, North Dakota and Minnesota were buried under snow and rain, causing the farms to abandon those potatoes.

French fries may soon become harder to find due to a spud slump in North America, which threatens to chip away at Canada's potato stockpile.

Luckily, there are three states that managed to have significant spud increases: Wisconsin and MI by 6.8% and ME by 9.6%.

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The cold and wet weather this year has stunted the growth of potatoes.

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

Fry makers are said to prefer larger potatoes.

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

The demand for French fries has already jumped in Canada. "It's just the behind the scenes, those raw potatoes may have moved in different areas than perhaps they would in areas where there's lots of supplies".

For potato growers, that could mean significant losses, MacIsaac said. So if all else fails in the regular fry world, sweet potato fries might remain a tasty option.

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