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Despite drop in supply, hike in demand, your french fries aren't going to get pricier, expert says

Last Updated Dec 2, 2019 at 11:51 am PDT

FILE- In this Sept. 19, 2018, file photo a tractor operator picks potatoes at Brett Jensen Farms outside of Idaho Falls, Idaho. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP, File)

While potato crops aren't doing well this year, a food expert says there won't be a shortage of french fries

Preliminary forecasts for this year's potato crop are not good, but that's not expected to impact fast food

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – While potato farmers haven’t had an easy time this fall, don’t panic – your fries aren’t going anywhere.

Cool temperatures in some parts of Canada and the U.S. this fall have made growing the root vegetable difficult for farmers.

Just how bad the damage was is expected to be clear later this week, but so far, the preliminary forecasts are not good.

In Manitoba alone, some 18 per cent of the potato crop was simply abandoned after a very wet, chilly fall, and what was pulled out of the ground is of a lower quality than usual.

However, Sylvain Charlebois, a professor in Food Distribution and Policy at Dalhousie University, says while supply is tight, there’s no major shortage.

“Farmers may be affected by this early snow across North America, but processors are going to find a product somewhere,” he says, adding he hasn’t seen any price hikes in potato farm gate values, the measure of market value for produce.

“We don’t expect, and there hasn’t been, any major issues around pricing at farm gate, still,” Charlebois explains. “At least there hasn’t been any reports suggesting that potato prices at farm gate have gone up significantly.”

He says while the potatoes may be of lower quality, that’s not a concern to the major fast food players.

“Big buyers, like McDonald’s and McCain’s, won’t necessarily be interested in those kind of potatoes,” he says. “To run out of potato chips or fries over the next few months is highly unlikely. Keep calm and eat your fries.”

With files from Kurtis Doering