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KFC Japan runs out of french fries due to U.S. industrial dispute

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Nonsense. I work for a company that ships weekly out of the Port of Seattle and the longshoreman's labor slowdown hasn't meant squat. It's a slowdown, not a stoppage of all Asia-bound vessels.

And what about all those spuds grown on Hokkaido? Country has overproduced rice yearly for nearly three decades, but can't keep local fast food in a staple not otherwise much consumed in the country? It's like a bad joke of Soviet agricultural planning.

-2 ( +8 / -9 )

@Colonel Sanders

It's a slowdown, not a stoppage of all Asia-bound vessels.

But perhaps when it comes to refrigerated cargo, the risks and costs associated with a slowdown basically means a stoppage?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Didn't McD also recently run out of tatters due to a strike of USA workers.

Being a franchise unfortunately a lot of goods have to be ordered from franchise plants, not that easy to switch suppliers or use local produce.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If it is GMO-potatoes or MONSANTO-supplied variety of potatoes, GOOD-RIDDANCE.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

It's like a bad joke of Soviet agricultural planning.

@Jeff I agree. And the same thing goes with butter. The local stores here in Japan are chronically out of it, and what they do sell is many times the price of butter in other developed economies.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The supplier of BURGER KING french fries is McCAIN FOODS and since 1999, no longer using GMO potatoes. So for those updated fellows out there, please tell us if McDonalds is still using GMO potatoes.

http://www.undergroundhealth.com/mcdonalds-reveals-17-foul-ingredients-in-their-french-fries-including-gmos/

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

KFC French fries stink to begin with, so no worries there. There is indeed a strike affecting imports, for those questioning the legitimacy of the claim here. I ordered some foreign products from a company I often order from and it's going to be delayed at least a couple of extra weeks, with none of the products including French fries, of course.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Here's a little secret that McD and KFC probably don't know. If you buy whole potatoes (Hokkaido grows a lot), peel them and then slice them into the shape of fries, they can be then fried and most people will not notice the different. Of course they are not the same as those fries that grow on French fried potato trees in vast orchards covering much of the Midwest, but at a pinch they do the job.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Jeff, you can't switch mid-season from growing rice to growing potatoes. In case you hand't noticed, Hokkaido is a meter deep in snow.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sweet god! No french fries?! Get a committee on this matter now! We can't have people finding more delicious and healthier snacks!

I want these salty oily pseudo-spuds in everyone by the end of the week! GO! GO! GO!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Who cares.

Its not like kfc & Mc d's are serving up chilli- cheese fries or carne asada fries. Only then would the potato shortage be tragic.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Good god! They use actual potatoes in those things?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Country has overproduced rice yearly for nearly three decades, but can't keep local fast food in a staple not otherwise much consumed in the country.

The country doesn't have an obligation to provide backup supplies for fast-food chains that under normal circumstances import their potatoes and other food products from the other side of the world.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan has plenty of potatoes that need peeling, and they have plenty of lazy bums abusing the welfare system. Put them bums back to work peeling potatoes or they dont' get their monthly check. I see many of them just smoking, drinking away and healthy enough to peel potatoes.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

It is only 3700 nm from Prince Rupert, Canada to Tokyo the shortest distance from a cargo port in North America to Japan. The french fry potatoe supplier McCains operates in Canada (they began there) and no doubt have plenty of stock on hand as they produce about 500 tons per hour. Some person is desperately slipping if they cannot easily arrange a different port of exit on short notice.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Forget the French fries and start making KFC mashed potatoes and gravy! That's one of the best things about KFC.

Also, buy the potatoes locally and give the farmers here a boost.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

sigfus45

Logistics is a bit more complicated especially when moving cargo across an international border. The Canadian customs office needs to get involved and a lot of other like insurance, banks, etc. to get it done adding cost to the item.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

how about Saitama Potatoes???

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would never have known that there were so many logistics experts frequenting these boards.... (rolls eyes)

I'm quite sure that if McD's and the Colonel say that they can't currently find alternative supplies, it's probably true. Why? Err...economics.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

“Due to the prolonged dockworkers’ disputes"

Unions...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

As recently as last week, Mickey D's Japan had found a way to deal with the potato shortage from the U.S. and is indeed selling fries again, and in all sizes.

Not sure how KFC found themselves so unprepared, considering they had months to prepare for this, but as other posters have astutely noted, Japan has a lot of potatoes being grown up in Hokkaido. Buy them. Slice them. Sell them. Problem solved.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It is a stoppage since the workers walked off the job,stuff that is shipped overseas may have to be air lifted from other places,pretty sure that consumers outside the US are having to face reduced supplies of merchandise. What gets me is most of the port workers make 6 figures. Maybe the Union reps just want more.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"What gets me is most of the port workers make 6 figures. Maybe the Union reps just want more."

Unions...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Unions.

Protecting their members' rights. Standing up for the worker .

Intolerable, eh?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@lucabrassi I was in a union before,so I understand how they work,I also know that you have to pay Union dues whether you are working or not. Now with what most of these workers make and the benefits they get the least they could be is satisfied,but the UNION fighting for the workers simply means the more the workers make the more the UNION stands to make in the long run.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The colonel's had his chips.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My college roommate was the grandson of Col. Sanders which proved particularly (and bizarrely I might add) on our trip to China. Free meals and even some autographs requested upon seeing the photos as proof of his relations. There is not much better when you are backpacking than free KFC, freeing up your budget for more beer.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Of course there are potatoes in Canada, Hokkaido, Saitama and even Okinawa. I think it's not so much a world shortage of potatoes as KFC and McOffal not being able to get spuds at the rock bottom price they need to to meet their profit margins.

It's all about the money.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You are better off without them.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The average salary of the West Coast dockworker is $165,000 (crane operators make $300,000), no contribution to their medical insurance, no deductible or co-pay & $1 perscriptions. Oh, and after 6 years on the job... medical coverage for life. But that is not enough. To put it into perspective; the average salary in the US is $50,000. FREAKIN UNIONS, I HATE them!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

NessieJAN. 24, 2015 - 10:33AM JST Jeff, you can't switch mid-season from growing rice to growing potatoes. In case you hand't noticed, Hokkaido is a meter deep in snow.

Hardly suggesting that, but thanks for pointing out the obvious and taking that part of my post out of context.

The point lost on you and wipeout is that Japanese agriculture is hardly market driven and, as with butter, the Japanese could easily supply their rather modest potato needs if, for example, rice were not still subsidized and, therefore, over-produced on painfully inefficient, just slightly lager than home garden plots.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

And what about all those spuds grown on Hokkaido? Country has overproduced rice yearly for nearly three decades, but can't keep local fast food in a staple not otherwise much consumed in the country? It's like a bad joke of Soviet agricultural planning.

McDonalds (and I presume, KFC as well) specifies a particular species of potato to be used. In McDonald's case it has to be "Russet Burbank" potatoes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russet_Burbank_potato McDonald's has stated that they use Russet potatoes in their advertising for their fries, so using anything else would open them up to false advertising lawsuits. Unless Hokkaido is growing Russet Burbank potatoes, then Hokkaido's potatoes are not acceptable as a substitute.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

FadamorJAN. 27, 2015 - 04:35AM JSTMcDonalds (and I presume, KFC as well) specifies a particular species of potato to be used. In McDonald's case it has to be "Russet Burbank" potatoes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russet_Burbank_potato McDonald's has stated that they use Russet potatoes in their advertising for their fries, so using anything else would open them up to false advertising lawsuits. Unless Hokkaido is growing Russet Burbank potatoes, then Hokkaido's potatoes are not acceptable as a substitute.

With that nifty Wiki post, I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Russets are a common-as-dirt-sold-at-every-grocery-store-in-America variety. Nothing exotic about them. And as far as an advertising lawsuit, you are joking, right? We're talking about Japan where you have a tough time suing for wrongful death let alone the wrong potato. And, you know what, if McDonalds asked, just as they did of Simplot in the U.S. (McDonalds' primary supplier for potatoes) I bet a lot of Japanese farmers might be convinced to grow Russets under contract, just like in the real world.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Jeff Huffman

I bet a lot of Japanese farmers might be convinced to grow Russets under contract, just like in the real world.

That would depend on the terms of the contract and how long they might expect to benefit from it. KFC, Gusto and the other chains have a (very) short interruption in their supply - at the American, not the Japanese end. Basically, they have been wholly reliant on that supply, so they are vulnerable to whatever may happen to interrupt it. Which doesn't happen very often. It is also their problem, rather than a problem of Japanese planning or market forces, and their responsibility to deal with it.

Japanese farmers are not going to start planting Burbanks just to please a few low-cost bulk buyers who will drop them and resume imports the moment they can do so. Danshaku and May Queen are the main (though not the only) varieties grown here, and whatever is "common as dirt in America" is not relevant to other countries, except to those rather vocal people who assume that what goes for America should go for everywhere.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Less grease, more healthy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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