Daily News Reports »

KayDee Gilkey Japan Faces Potato Chip Crisis
by KayDee Gilkey, click here for bio

Program: Farm and Ranch Report
Date: April 27, 2017

Click on the play button to listen to report.

Download Report: Japan_Faces_Potato_Chip_Crisis.mp3

Typhoons decimated potato crops in Hokkaido — Japan’s largest potato producing region — last summer. These potatoes were used for Japanese potato chips snacks. In the last several weeks, two major chip manufactures have temporarily stopped production on some of their most popular brands. Reports of bags of potato chips that normally go for approximately $2, can be found for sale on online auctions for $12 a bag.

Could this be a boon for U.S. potatoes? Washington State Potato Commission Executive Director Chris Voigt sheds some light on the situation.

Voigt: “So normally you’d think that would be a great opportunity for Washington State potato growers that we would be able to ship some of our potatoes to become potato chips. Now we do a substantial amount of business with Japan already. The problem is the potatoes designed for making potato chips are very unique. They are not a potato you are going to find in the grocery store or anywhere else. Really the only opportunity you have to get chipping potatoes is to contract directly with the grower. So that is why we won’t the opportunity to sell too many more additional potatoes for potato chips in Japan is because we don’t have any.”

Voigt adds that is very likely the case with any of our region’s potato growers. If they do have chipping potatoes, they are already under contract.

One of Japan’s main potato companies Calbee has stated it is begun importing potatoes from the United States to try and maintain production of its remaining flavors, however Japanese laws limit the amount of imported potatoes that can be used in Japanese-made products.

Recent Reports from Farm and Ranch Report

Click here to see Archived Reports