Consumers, Fast Food/Quick Service Restaurants, North America, Processing, fries, chips, Trends, Weather/Climate

The potato-pocalypse in Canada: Bad growing season could mean stumpy, brown fries

After a devastating potato growing season, 500 million pounds of Canadian potatoes are feared wasted and many of the survivors are misshapen and undersized, threatening to turn french fries short and brown.

The United Potato Growers of Canada last week announced the misfortunes of its farmers in a news release. A late spring, a hot summer and a cold fall saw an estimated 6,000 hectares abandoned. While any one of those three are manageable on their own, all three hitting most provinces in the same year is “unprecedented,” said United Potato Growers general manager Kevin MacIsaac.

“I’ve been involved in the industry myself for 25-plus years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” he told the Financial Post. “It’s pretty bad right now.”

The bad growing season destroyed four-and-a-half per cent of the national potato crop — typically 10 billion pounds — with Prince Edward Island and Manitoba impacted the worst, the group estimated. The potatoes that make it to market after a grading process “may look a little different this year,” likely to be smaller and oddly shaped, it said, adding that the nutrient levels and quality will be unaffected.

The smaller, more sugary potatoes could result in shorter, darker fries for the Canadian fast food industry. McDonald’s Canada, which sources 314 million pounds of Canadian potatoes annually‚ is monitoring the situation, particularly attuned to the potential for darker fries.

In a statement, McDonald’s said it is working with its supplier, McCain Foods, to ensure potatoes continue to meet standards.

Read the full story on the Financial Post website

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse

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