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Food & Recipes

French Fry Shortage Sparks Fear for Spud Fans — But How Worried Should We Really Be?


French fries are one of the purest forms of culinary joy in the world. Old or young, rich or poor, the perfectly salted sticks of starchy goodness can unite us all. Which is exactly why news of a potential spud shortage in our near future can send the masses into worry mode. 

According to a report from Bloomberg, a string of cold, damp weather caused some serious damage to potato crops across the United States and Canada. Farmers salvaged what they could, but there was still a significant decrease in what they were able to dig up. Plus, the taters they did collect were all on the smaller side and most commercial French fry producers rely on larger, heartier potatoes to slice up. The article claimed this could lead to higher prices and smaller portions at restaurants.

But before you rush out to get your hands on every bag of fries in your grocery store’s frozen section, there is still hope on the horizon. Experts at Spudman (perhaps the best name for a magazine ever) admit that the USDA is projecting about a six percent decrease in potato production, we already faced a similar setback in 2018, too. 

Now, think back over the past year — did you notice any difference in the amount of tubers you were served at your favorite restaurants? Drive-thru’s certainly didn’t stop asking us if we’d like “fries with that,” so it’s probably safe to say that the same will continue despite this latest dip in crops. 

To make sure the message is clear, Frank Muir, president of the Idaho Potato Commission, told the New York Times, “Don’t panic about the French fries. You can still go out and order them like you normally do.” That is music to our tastebuds.

Now, let’s all celebrate by ordering up a plate of fries without any stress over depleting the country’s supply of spuds. (We’ll go back to salads tomorrow.)

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