Japan’s Potato Shortage Limits Fries at McDonald’s

As if the computer chip shortage was bad in enough for Japanese supply chains, another kind of ‘chip’ is in short supply. McDonald’s has been forced to limit their rations of French fries as a combination of COVID-19 and floods in Canada have constricted the imports of potatoes.

While the question “Would you like to SuperSize that?” is ancient history, the only size option Japanese consumers will be offered is small; Fortunately, it’ll only be for a week. “Due to large-scale flooding near the Port of Vancouver…and the global supply chain crunch caused by the coronavirus pandemic, there are delays in the supply of potatoes,” says McDonald’s Japan.

In an attempt to ensure each customer has the opportunity to have fries with their order, the company emphasized that it was a pressing challenge to maintain a “stable procurement of resource materials.” More than 3,000 McDonald’s restaurants in Japan will only be offering small-sized portions of fries for the time being. A dispute is ensuing between 20,000 dockworkers and terminal operators and shipping lines at 29 ports on the U.S. west coast, choking the already bottlenecked supply chain.

This isn’t the first time McDonald’s Japan has faced an issue such as this. Back in December of 2014 a labor dispute on the other side of the Pacific handcuffed their resources in similar fashion.

In response to the shortage, McDonald’s Japan took emergency measures and imported 1,000 tons of frozen fries by air.

In another year plagued by the pandemic, French fries have joined the ranks of other things that have come in short supply, and while they’re not completely unavailable, hearty servings will continue to be a thing of the past; at least for now.

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