US may face French fry shortage due to poor potato crop: report

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. 

Potato producers told the news outlet that they are attempting to purchase potatoes from across the continent after multiple harvests in Canada and the U.S. were ruined. The potato crop forecast in the U.S. is at the lowest since 2010, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report. 

Last month, frost hit potato farms across North America, with farmers in Manitoba, North Dakota and Minnesota losing crops. 

About 18 percent of the potato acreage in Manitoba went unharvested because of the weather, and 6.5 percent of Alberta crops experienced frost damage, according to Bloomberg. Manitoba and Alberta are the second- and third-largest growers in Canada, respectively, and the government is expected to release crop estimates Friday. 

Canada also is expected to have a higher demand for potatoes because of an increase in fry-processing capacity, which could prompt higher prices and limited potatoes for the U.S., according to Stephen Nicholson, a senior grains and oilseeds analyst at Rabobank.

“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.

Other companies such as Cavendish Farms told Bloomberg, however, they did not think there would be shortages because East Coast products will make the difference.

Tags French fries potatoes

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