Will There be a French Fry Shortage?


Potato processors are rushing to buy supplies and ship them across North America in order to keep french fries on the menu after cold, wet weather damaged crops in key producers in the U.S. and Canada.

Cool conditions started to hit growing regions in October, lashing potatoes with frost. Farmers in Alberta and Idaho were able to dig up some damaged crops for storage. But growers in Manitoba, North Dakota and Minnesota received snow and rain, forcing them to abandon some supplies in fields.

As the weather hurt crops, an increase in fry-processing capacity in Canada boosted demand. The combination will lead to tight supplies, and it’s likely that potato prices could climb this year across North America, Stephen Nicholson, a senior grains and oilseeds analyst at Rabobank, said in a phone interview. International costs may also rise as the U.S. won’t be able to export as much.

“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, said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts domestic output will drop 6.1% this year to the lowest since 2010, the agency said in a Nov. 8 report. In Idaho, the top producer, output is forecast to fall 5.5%.


21 Comments on Will There be a French Fry Shortage?

  1. A small bag of frozen fries here has been almost $6 for years and they’re usually little pieces. All the good fries go to fast food joints and restaurants. Same with baking potatoes. Used to be what poor people lived on.

  2. …I’m part Irish. ANY lack of potatoes is unacceptable, but a well-done French fry is a blessing from God, and I need all the blessings I can GET.

    …Although my waistline may suggest I’ve been blessed a bit TOO much…

  3. Left Coast Dan
    DECEMBER 3, 2019 AT 11:11 AM
    “I like broccoli”

    …I do TOO, right there, next my meat AND POTATOES…

  4. Outdoorjohn
    DECEMBER 3, 2019 AT 11:06 AM
    “Thankfully, we’re still good on burrito covers.”

    …I’ve seen Africans working with an automatic burrito folder that could make you regard that as a very mixed blessing…

  5. I call bullsh!t. Potatoes are harvested in September or October – and the weather was FINE. They aren’t planted until spring when danger of frost is past.

    Just another “climate change” chicken little lie.

  6. You’re usually eating last years potato crop so why the shortage now?….Stil can buy 20lbs of taters for less then 5 bucks here in the middle of everywhere America, plus I have 10 lbs of tater tots in the freezer…100,000 cattle within a 20 mile radius of here, plus hogs and sheep and goats and chickens….I think I’ll be OK….

    The tofu shortage is a misnomer….

  7. Potatoes, mmmmmmmmmm!
    Another Maine crop. Our potatoes tend to be wet and so unsuitable for mass fry production. We can make delicious fresh fries though!

  8. A bag of potatoes rot before we finish it at my house.
    We do sweet potatoes and brown rice for starch.
    It wouldn’t hurt the nation to get off the fry wagon.
    Sweet potatoes are $.38 a pound, cheap.
    I buy a bunch, roast, peel, wrap in plastic and freeze.
    Whew, good thing they changed it to climate change, that global warming hoax just didn’t work out.
    Just like the Russia, Russia, Russia hoax.
    Let them eat cake.

  9. Same bullshit when the media shit their pants claiming a wall on the Mexican border would raise the price of an avacado to a mortgage payment.

    More fake news.

  10. Tater “crops?”
    What a load of bullshit!

    Smashed taters come outta a bag ….. an Fren Fries comes outta McDonalds!

    this is some white-wing scarum tatics by the white-wingers tryin to scare the good peeps what live in the gettoes bout theyr’e taters an shit!

  11. Beachmom
    Buy the new “Caribou Russet” for fries.
    Well over half of Maine potato production goes to French fry production.
    Most consumers never see those potatoes because to long russet potatoes from the west are shipped here for the fresh pack market.
    Ours tend to be a bit off shaped and crooked, not a problem for fries, but the western russets are bland flavored, but pretty.


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