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Japanese chip giant back to full operation as potato supplies recover

Japanese snack giant Calbee’s operations have returned to normal, following a potato shortage that disrupted the production of 15 of its potato chip brands. 

It has launched new flavors after benefitting from a disease-resistant potato that has increased Japanese potato production.

The ¥507.9bn ($4.56bn) company used the ‘downtime’ to develop new snack products and diversify its sources of raw materials.

Calbee spokesperson Kazuka Nohara told BakeryandSnacks, the company has transformed some of its rice paddies in the Iwate, Miyagi and Kumamoto prefectures into potato fields in order to avoid another potato shortage. 

Calbee has also been developing a disease-resistant potato variety called Poroshiri, which it will use for its snacks, said Nohara.

Starting this month, the company is launching a range of potato chips in flavors reflecting the local speciality of each of Japan’s 47 prefectures, priced at ¥120 ($1.09) per pack.

For example, the chips denoting the Kyoto prefecture combines the flavor of Uji green tea (which has been produced in the area for 800 years) with the region’s love for the fragrant Japanese pepper. Chips representing the Okayama prefecture have been flavoured with miso, soy and garlic to denote Tsuyama hormone udon, a local specialty of Tsuyama City.

Publication date: 9/14/2017


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