A potato chip shortage is “extremely likely” in Europe because of record high temperatures


From melting ice caps to rising sea levels, climate change has irrevocably altered the state of our planet. But global warming may have officially crossed the line — and entered into our cupboards.

In a report by industry site Bakery and Snacks, the summer’s record high temperatures and especially dry weather in Europe are expected to wreak havoc on the entire continent’s potato chip supply. The weather will likely affect both chip size and variety, with smaller-than-usual potatoes expected. As much as 30% of Europe’s potato crop is projected to fail.

“The various national statements and statements from individual [businesses] paint a clear picture that volumes in 2018 are expected to be significantly lower than average,” a spokesperson for the European Snacks Association told Mic. “And it is extremely likely that there will be serious issues in terms of quality and availability of potato varieties that are suitable for processing and also for long-term storage. That means that this is probably not a short-term issue and the impacts will be felt through to the next growing season.“

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A number of countries, including Norway and Sweden, have experienced record-high temperatures, with some cities close to the Arctic Circle even reaching 90 degrees — and scientists have said these high temperatures will become the norm for the continent in several decades. Potato chip makers are already feeling the heat, refocusing their efforts on popular flavors and smaller chips, to make up for the less-than-expected volume, resulting in less variety you’d expect to see at a grocery store.

And around the world, potato chip panic is real. In August 2016, there were a number of typhoons and floods in Hokkaido, Japan, resulting in a countrywide spud shortage, spurring a mass-buying frenzy — and the price for a single bag of (pizza-flavored) chips retailing for as much as 1,250 yen, or about $11. In 2017, heavy rains in New Zealand wiped out 20% of the country’s potato crops, giving rise to “potatogeddon” and “chipocalpyse.”

In recent years, potato panic has hit home, too. In December 2015, high temperatures and climate change resulted in a loss of as much as 3.7% of Idaho’s potato crop. Idaho is known as the potato capital of the world.

If you’re wondering how this will affect other potato derivatives too, Germany processors are already warning of shortages of large potatoes — which are used in making french fries.

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