×

Japan's potato chip crisis hits home as spud shortage strikes snack makers: Report

Japan is in the midst of a dire crisps shortage after violent typhoons wiped out potato crops in top tuber producing Hokkaido. The unprecedented series of storms last year has forced chipmakers Calbee and rival Koikeya to halt production of some of their most popular flavours -- including pizza and French salad.
Toru Yamanaka | AFP | Getty Images
Japan is in the midst of a dire crisps shortage after violent typhoons wiped out potato crops in top tuber producing Hokkaido. The unprecedented series of storms last year has forced chipmakers Calbee and rival Koikeya to halt production of some of their most popular flavours -- including pizza and French salad.

Japanese supermarkets, manufacturers and consumers are snapping up all the potato and chips they can find as a poor harvest from the country's top potato producing region hits fresh supplies, the Nikkei Asian Review reported on Monday.

The northern island of Hokkaido is Japan's top potato producing region, accounting for 80 percent of Japan's potatoes, but bad weather last summer has hit potato arrivals. Spring potatoes will only reach markets in late May, Nikkei added.

Although snack makers do import fresh potatoes, stringent Japanese government regulations on quarantine makes the task challenging, Nikkei noted. Potato chip makers require potatoes that are different from table varieties.

For more on the potato chip shortage, see the Nikkei Asian Review's story