Australia’s frozen chip shortage may soon be over as potato farmers and factories kick into high gear. With potato harvests underway in Tasmania and Victoria (the largest domestic spud production areas) and chip factories operating at capacity, consumers could see potato products in supermarket freezers in a matter of weeks.
Last year, wet weather, increased production costs and restrictions on international imports led to a widespread shortage of potato products in supermarkets and takeaway shops across the country. Victorian Farmers Federation vice president of horticulture Katherine Myers is hopeful the current harvest will meet short-term demand: “We should start to see improved availability of chips in fish and chip shops, and on the shelves as the harvest progresses.”
Still, Ms Myers warned another potato shortage may come as soon as next year due to the ripple effect of the less-than-ideal and international economic conditions that caused the first shortage. A wetter than usual spring last year delayed paddock preparation and crop planting for this year’s harvest, leading to lower overall harvest yields. Ms Myers: “Total yields are expected to be down this year in Australia and overseas – especially neighbouring New Zealand, which has faced its own battles with catastrophic weather.”