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US Faces French Fry Shortage Amid Unusually Wet, Cold Potato Season

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Fast food companies' popular menu item "French fries" faces severe shortage in the United States after a good number of potato crops across the region have been damaged due to the unusually cold and wet weather.

According to a November 8 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, domestic Potato production is expected to decline 6.1 percent this year, which would be the lowest since 2010. In Idaho, the top U.S. producer of potatoes, output is estimated to drop 5.5 percent.

Canada is also going through severe potato damage. The United Potato Growers of Canada estimates that about 18% of Manitoba's planted area, the second largest region, were left unharvested. This is equal to last season's abandoned crop for all of Canada. About 6.5% of potatoes in Alberta are also frost damaged.

Across North America. it is expected that the huge demand and tight supplies of potatoes would result in higher potato prices. Fast food majors including McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's are not likely to get impacted as their prices have been fixed for the year through contracts. Meanwhile, higher prices may affect local restaurants, bars, and grocery stores.

Meanwhile, CNN quoted Frank Muir, president and CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission, as saying that by the time the frost hit in October, Idaho farmers had harvested about 85 percent of their crop, which were of good quality.

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