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"Soon no more special chip flavours to be found"

High prices and short chips: potato processors respond to dry weather

The potato processing industry sees trouble on the horizon. The dry weather could mean a potato harvest with low yields and small sizes. For potato processors, this means high prices, smaller chips, and a limited choice.

Roger & Roger
"There is already talk of 30% fewer potatoes. That is huge", says Tom Demeyer of Belgian chip manufacturer, Roger & Roger. This company tries to use as many local Belgian potatoes in its processing as possible. When those are finished, they may turn to foreign countries. However, this year that is difficult since the whole of Europe is in the grips of this dry weather.

"When it comes to the Croky assortment, we have decided to make the basic range of flavours, like paprika and bolognese, available. We are currently not producing the less popular or newer flavours. With this measure, we want to give growers the chance to allow their potatoes to grow a bit more as soon as it rains again. This will, hopefully, mean they can harvest larger volumes. This will be a plus for everyone in the chain, and finally, also chips consumers". 

"There will certainly be smaller chips on the market. You simply cannot produce large chips from small potatoes. Regardless of whether they are short or long, these chips all taste equally good", according to another Belgian company, Agristo's, CEO Filip Wallays. "It is dry throughout Europe. This will make it difficult to import potatoes from other countries. The volumes needed for processing are also too large to import from countries outside of Europe", he says.

This potato processing company keeps its clients up to date, as far as possible, regarding the state of affairs. They have also told them of the possibility that there might be smaller potatoes. This company is working as sparingly as possible with this limited natural resource. The dry weather is also affecting prices. "We can already see the effect in potato prices in the free market. These have increased tenfold compared to a few months ago", Filip says.

Lamb Weston / Meijer 
"We work with 600 growers throughout Europe. We can see that everyone in Europe is suffering from this dry weather", says Pieter Jan of Lamb Weston / Meijer. "We are only getting positive reports from Austria. Currently, we are still analysing the situation. There are vast differences between the various regions."

"However, everyone thinks we will have smaller potatoes this year", he continues. "This will result in smaller yields and smaller chips. In a case like this, we try to keep in close contact with our business contacts. We try to help each other out. When shortages become a reality, we are in a position to work with the United States. Before this happens, we need the actual yield amounts. When we decide to take definite action, we will first discuss this with our clients. We think it is important to involve them as closely as possible in the process."
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