The growing global potato shortage that has hit McDonalds and KFC is causing real problems for a planet addicted to french fries and chips.
The United States is one of the top producers of potatoes globally — but lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic forced U.S. farmers to destroy hundreds of tons of potatoes in 2020, and the supply has not fully recovered.
These issues have led to fast food chains from Kenya to Japan scaling back on french fry orders or even running out of them.
In Japan, McDonald’s locations stopped offering large and medium-size french fry orders late last month, after pandemic-related supply chain issues and floods in the Port of Vancouver delayed potato shipments.
Days later, South Africa’s leading makers of potato chips warned that potatoes were in disturbingly short supply after a bad frost and excessive rains led to low local yields, on top of global sourcing shortages.
In Kenya, Kentucky Fried Chicken locations struck french fries, from menus, as virus-related shipping delays held up containers full of potatoes for more than a month