A flurry of headlines took over the internet on Tuesday: "French fry shortage possibly looming" was Fox News' take. It, like countless others, reported on a dearth of potatoes in North America after crops were damaged by cold, wet weather. CNN framed the situation as one in which processors are "rushing" to identify new sources of potatoes, and Bloomberg cited USDA stats that indicate the year's harvest will be down 6.1% since 2018 and the lowest since 2010. But on Wednesday, the New York Times sought to quell the panic, reporting "The French Fries Are Doing Just Fine."
It spoke with mega fry producers who brushed off the concern. One said it's simply going to have to ship potatoes to its northern facilities that were most impacted. Another echoed the sentiment that there shouldn't be shortages. Even Burger King chimed in to say it didn't foresee any supply issues. The head of the Idaho Potato Commission added that technological advances mean French fry processors can hang on to their potatoes for some time after they're processed. An interesting side note: Fresh potatoes and other products like chips weren't impacted in the same way as those potatoes tend to be harvested earlier. (Read more french fries stories.)