America May Suffer French Fry Shortage After Poor Potato Harvest

French fries are far from the healthiest way to eat a potato, but they might be the tastiest. Whether you're young or old, you've probably enjoyed these little yellow salt sticks on a few occasions, particularly alongside a perfect, juicy burger. Their French name (and not-so-French origins) aside, fries have become an iconic American food.

If you're an American who loves fries, though, it looks like 2020 won't be your favorite year. Maybe. The problem, once again, is climate-related. 

This sure seemed like a chilly October, didn't it? In fact, according to a report from Bloomberg, the rapidly cooling weather conditions during this past autumn hit the farms of the Midwest with a cold fury, lashing their potatoes with frost. This forced farmers in Minnesota, Manitoba, and North Dakota to ditch their crops, while their Idaho and Alberta counterparts frantically dug up whatever they could find for storage. Meanwhile, the demand for potatoes — and fries in particular — is rising, which could result in the potato shortage from your worst nightmares. If some predictions hold true, this is bad news for starch artists, worse news for mashed potatoes fans, and even worse news for fry lovers, since crop damage means smaller potatoes, and french fries, for obvious reasons, are usually made from bigger spuds. Now, you don't have to be a math scholar to calculate that lower yield + higher demand probably equals ... yep, higher prices. Ugh. 

However, don't go stockpiling frozen fries into your bomb shelter, just yet. Some analysts think that fears regarding the great fry epidemic are overblown.  

Is the end (of french fries) nigh?

Not everyone is as worried about french fries as you might be. For example, there's Frank Muir, president of the Idaho Potato Commission. He basically told everybody to take a chill pill, according the New York Times, by stating, "Don't panic about the French fries. You can still go out and order them like you normally do."

Huh. Who is a fry lover supposed to believe?

That's up to you, but here's the deal: while it is true that bad weather caused horrible harvests this year, the same was true of 2018. Furthermore, by the time that the Winter Warlock cast his evil October spell, 85 percent of Idaho's potatoes were already harvested. North American fry suppliers, meanwhile, claim to be largely unphased by the dreaded shortage, and are simply taking extra precautions (such as temperature-controlling technology) to make sure that customers can get all the fries they need. Also, while fries are largely made on this continent, it's worth noting that potatoes are grown all over the world. In fact, Russia, China, India, and Ukraine all produce more potatoes than Uncle Sam. 

That said, Idaho alone harvested one billion fewer pounds of spuds this year, compared to last. Also, a 2018 study study predicted that climate change is going to seriously mess up potato yields over the next century. Hold onto your ketchup, folks.