Potato chip shortage | Australia is short on frozen potatoes

Potato chip shortage | Australia is short on frozen potatoes

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. Australia is currently in a potato shortage. Yes. This is not a drill.

The humble spud is one of those things that makes life bearable. Whether it’s a crisp and delicious chip, a deliciously seasoned hot number smothered in tomato sauce, a crispy scallop, mashed, fried, grilled – you name it, the potato is our saving grace and for that we are eternally grateful . That’s why this news really hurts.

Thank goodness this spud crisis is mostly related to frozen produce, which means you can still (generally) get yourself a fresh tater in its purest form without too much trouble. However, this is bad news for your local takeaway.

So why does Australia have a frozen potato shortage, and when will it end?

Potato yields in NSW and Victoria have been severely damaged in recent years due to (yep, you guessed it) a wetter than average winter and widespread flooding. With Sydney alone breaking an all-time record for the wettest year on record, the country’s farms have also taken a hit, with many crops suffering across the country.

As seen on SBS News, potato grower and Victorian Farmers Federation horticulture vice-president Katherine Myers said that “potatoes are a fixed-season crop, so they need a period of four to five months to come out of the ground… the prolonged wet weather made it too difficult to manage the crops that were in the ground, made it difficult to harvest the crops, and it meant that there were quite significant delays in getting the new crops planted”.

This sad fact means that not only are fewer potatoes being grown, the ones that are are much smaller. This means there are far fewer sprays hitting potato processing facilities for all our frozen potato needs. This, together with the drought in Europe, means that potato crops everywhere are suffering. And that’s bad news for all you frozen hash brown lovers.

Coles has set a purchase limit of two frozen potato products per person. Woolies, on the other hand, did not. Fortunately, there are no purchase limits for fresh potatoes.

Ms Myers further told SBS News that; “We are unlikely to see good potato yields return in the next 12 months. As farmers, our hearts go out to consumers, fish and chip shop owners and restaurant owners, because we know how difficult it is for us at the moment.”

May the force of the spuds be with you. Strength.

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