Major Potato Chip Shortage Strikes Japan

Japanese snack manufacturing giant Calbee informed the public that it is halting production of 15 of its most popular brands temporarily following Hokkaido, the nation’s largest potato-producing region being struck by typhoons which have destroyed this year’s potato crop. The notice caused a shopping rush for remaining potato chips bags at supermarkets across Japan, as photos of cleared shelves circulated social media.

Among the flavors Calbee is suspending are its Lightly Salted chips, French Salad Dressing chips and Plum chips.

Calbee also announced it has started importing potatoes from the United States in an effort to maintain the production of its remaining flavors, however Japanese law limits the volume of imported potatoes which may be used for products made in japan.

Calbee HQ, Japan.

The company’s smaller rival Koikeya announced it is also suspending production of its popular Rich Consomme flavor and several other brands, with no plans to import foreign potatoes.

Neither company suggested how long the hiatus might last. Bloomberg reported that some which normally cost about 200 yen ($1.84) are being purchased for more than 1,250 yen ($12) in some online auctions,