business

Potato chip shortage due to typhoon damage in Hokkaido

42 Comments

Due to typhoons that hit Hokkaido last year, Japanese snack food manufacturers Calbee and Koikeya have announced a discontinuation and temporary halt on some potato chip products. Both companies have been forced to downsize their production to top-selling and standard potato chips only, because the poor harvest has resulted in a shortage of potatoes, Fuji TV reported.

Calbee will permanently stop the shipment of 18 varieties of potato chips, including “French Salad Flavor 60g” and “Plum Flavor 60g,” starting April 15. Sales will last until stocks run out at stores nationwide. From April 22, 15 varieties of Calbee potato chips including “BIG BAG Lightly Salted” will have their shipment temporarily suspended.

Koikeya said it has finished manufacturing seven potato chip products, including its “M Size Rich Consomme Flavor.” The company said production of its “Garlic Flavor 55g” and eight other products will be temporarily discontinued.

Potato harvest will commence in Kyushu around May, and in a similar fashion to the cherry blossom front, potato crops will advance northward until Hokkaido reaches its peak production in September.

Calbee has had to import potatoes from the United States due to the short supply, but the company said a majority of the American spuds are of insufficient quality and cannot cover the deficit. On the other hand, Koikeya said its potatoes are 100% domestically sourced and states that its reassessment of sales was inevitable in view of the shortage.

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42 Comments
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Oh come on people, just import some nice russet potatoes from North America and get to work. I was watching this on the news last night, and Calbee and another company would rather stop production and wait until August for the Hokkaido potato crop to be ready rather than import foreign potatoes. And people wonder why things are so out of whack in this country! First butter, now potatoes! What next, soy beans? No natto for you!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Still remember the toilet paper crisis from the 1970s. Now, today, 2017, we have a potato chip crisis. Better get some chips before the shelves go empty. Ah well, guess they're already out of stock ... everywhere ... Blimy ...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Pay 300 yen for a Japanese bag of chips with only 5 pieces or 800 yen for a full Lay's chips bag. Life is unfair.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Guess I'll have to stick with Pringles.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Russets are impervious to typhoons?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

????

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Calbee has had to import potatoes from the United States due to the short supply, but the company said a majority of the American spuds are of insufficient quality and cannot cover the deficit.

Excellent. Even Japanese spuds are special. Because they are native to Japan. no wait, no they aren't. they are from the Americas.......

What exactly is so superior about a Japanese potato?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

A good opportunity for people to realise how unhealthy the snacks are (and I am a person who loves chips!). Seriously, quit for your own health, if not for the price gouging they think they can put on you because they 'have no choice'. They have plenty of options but want to keep the government subsidies while keeping protections in place that would allow for import of cheaper materials to make more product. But, nope! So, nope on my end. Let them deal with the slight lack of profit.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Aw, French Salad Flavor and Plum Flavor, both sound like sure money losers. A nation mourns.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Calbee has had to import potatoes from the United States due to the short supply, but the company said a majority of the American spuds are of insufficient quality and cannot cover the deficit.

Yes, that's exactly right! American potatoes are not up to scratch, as is a lot of the American imported food stuffs. The imported US beef is atrocious! It's fatty and tough and usually only really crappy cuts like blade and chuck steak (shoulder and neck). Whereas, I often see nice Aussie beef, rump and sometimes fillet steak. I've never seen these from the US. If the US seriously wants a piece of the Japanese produce market, they'll have to lift their game and start exporting top quality products instead of exporting the guff they can't sell in the US.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Can do without chips (for a while) but can certainly NOT live without my now favourite wasabi snack kaki no tane!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Calbee has had to import potatoes from the United States due to the short supply, but the company said a majority of the American spuds are of insufficient quality and cannot cover the deficit.

A face-saving gesture. Their brand is built on the Hokkaido name. They're not going to admit that other potatoes can be as good.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ahh crisps, the most expensive way of buying a potato (not that I haven't been eating them since I was at primary school!). Agree with most of the above, import more, or is this an excuse to dump crap flavours no one was buying anyway without having to admit the mistake in the first place?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Calbee is OK in a pinch but nothing beats lays. Store staff do need to be trained on how to handle them. Always turn the bag upside down to listen for a smashed bag. The Japanese Cheetos are too sweet and WHY don't the sell Fritos here. GMO corn? They sell Tostidos and Doritoes made in Tiawan, where do they get their corn? Wasn't it last year Japan had a French Fry problem?

I'm very glad my father in law grows spuds with no chemicals cause I get to eat the skins.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Import potatoes from Russia. It has an overproduction.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It's like the rice crises in the early 90s. They were offered high-quality California rice but refused to import it, saying something about Japanese rice being "special" and "unique."

TBS news did a blindfold taste testing and their team could not determine the difference. These people are so often their own worst enemies.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

+ Disillusioned (indeed). Don't se how you can compare the poor beef you say you buy here with a Calbee going to the US to source high quality spuds. If they wanted they could get potatoes just as good from the US or elsewhere.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What would be wrong with importing Australian or New Zealand's potatoes they have are well known varieties of chipping potatoes may cost a little more but realy worth it as a standby

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

the company said a majority of the American spuds are of insufficient quality and cannot cover the deficit

Yes, obviously the country that invented potato chips isn't up to Japanese standards in potato chips.

Elsie Lay used to live near me, and at least once talked about how she would make chips in the kitchen with Mr. Lay. He would go out every day to sell Lay potato chips while she took care of the boarders they had in their house to help make ends meet. Really nice old lady with a great story. I bet most those executives at Calbee wouldn't know their way around a kitchen.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Elsie Lay used to live near me, and at least once talked about how she would make chips in the kitchen with Mr. Lay. He would go out every day to sell Lay potato chips while she took care of the boarders they had in their house to help make ends meet. Really nice old lady with a great story.

Cool story. Must be one of those insecure JT stalkers that gave you the thumbs down for that innocent story, or maybe a Calbee employee. LOL

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Some of those kettle chips from the US are evilly good. A first-class ticket to metabolic syndrome-level good. The Maui Sweet Onion ones in the 900g bag they sell at Costco if you want a specific example. They are completely addictive. Mustard kettle chips are unputdownable too.

I buy them for my kids but I think Koike are so-so and Calbee are generally mediocre. Seiyu's own brand are much tastier, even for the same flavours like consomme and nori-shio, so I get them when I can. On the whole, I think Japanese chips are too thin and too oily. Calbee's tend to be a sickly yellow white from insufficient cooking, so not much of a crunch and none of the complex flavours from the Maillard reaction.

My absolute favourite spuds are Jersey new potatoes, but they're just another thing you can't buy. "Shinjaga" don't come anywhere near. I grow my own spuds and eat them early, but they're still not as creamy and nutty as Jerseys.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A potato famine strikes dread into my Irish heart.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

try importing more

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Hopefully this means more plain salted corn tortilla chips on the shelves? No not overly flavored Doritos. I see plenty of salsa, but no decent chips to dip with.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Senbei is better for your health.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Maybe satisfy USTR by importing various Idaho potatoes? Unlike cold Russia,,, Idaho potatoes are cultivated year around and TR is not pushing Japan to buy Russian products.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Aughh, try some potato that was shipped in from the US on ship and sat in customs for a week or two to be cleared.

They aren't going to be flown it in by air and can't be frozen. The best is refer which cost a ton of money as well.

Transporting food items are expensive especially when you need ingredient at dirt cheap prices.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

My favorite chips here are 'Kataage slightly salted'. https://www.tsunagujapan.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/img60019515.jpg

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Plenty of potatoes in Okinawa! No shortage here!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

To those who are suggesting to use imported potatoes - are you off your rocker? The potato chips will no longer get that coveted 国産 label!

kohakuebisu

Yeah, kettle chips, like other chips aren't really healthy, but damn it, they sure is tasty!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

First World Problems! What you gonna do!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

i like japanese potato chips way better, guess i will wait until available.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As with the periodic butter shortages, another example of how inefficient Japanese agriculture remains. It's long past the time where the government offered decent buy-outs to get rid of the hundreds of thousands of small holders so that, where possible, farms can be consolidated and employ increased mechanization. This won't ever give Japan complete food security and extreme weather will do what it will, but the persistent backwardness probably reduces it by 10-20%. The LDP created and maintained this situation for decades, so they ought to fix it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

You know what Japan.... SCREW YOU! I mean it.... every time you read about some company having to import vegetables from outside of the country.... they complain about quality. You know what.... the Potato Chips in the USA taste fine! Sorry but I don't go out of my way for Japanese Potato Chips... they're just Good... not Great. So get off your high horse and quit trying to fool the world into thinking everything in Japan is better. There are other reasons why you want to continue to source your spuds domestically... and Quality isn't the reason.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

What exactly is so superior about a Japanese potato?

If you have to ask then you must not be Japanese and you'll never understand. Everything in Japan is superior. What's so hard to understand?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

You know what Japan.... SCREW YOU! I mean it.... every time you read about some company having to import vegetables from outside of the country.... they complain about quality. You know what.... the Potato Chips in the USA taste fine! Sorry but I don't go out of my way for Japanese Potato Chips... they're just Good... not Great. So get off your high horse and quit trying to fool the world into thinking everything in Japan is better. There are other reasons why you want to continue to source your spuds domestically... and Quality isn't the reason.

Mmmm. If we're talking about Canadian spuds I could understand. Mexican potato chips, yes of course. Russian potatoes - for sure. But American? No, I totally understand the Japanese preferring top quality potato chips. Don't they use American potatoes for cheap vodka and as sea wall levies?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Article states that USA potatoes are used and that importing extra is not enough.

Have to go on a chips by the look of it

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-39574512

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There's absolutely nothing wrong with American potatoes. Old Dutch chips are the fat superior chips. I guess when a country's top dog, and you can't do anything about, then bitch. Bitch about this, bitch about that, even criticize their spuds. If it makes you feel better, then ok: American spuds stink. But America's still the best country. So many immigrants passed through Ellis Island specifically for the potatoes.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

SaikoPhysco at Apr. 12, 2017 - 06:02AM JST You know what Japan.... SCREW YOU! I mean it.... every time you read about some company having to import vegetables from outside of the country.... they complain about quality. You know what....

Yes, I know what. You've got a chip on your shoulder. Lay off.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"shortage of potatoes"

So, Japan and North Korea do have something in common after all.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The potatoes made in the US is good in the US. Not so good when it traveled three weeks in cargo and another two weeks waiting to clear customs. A potato that was stored the same time in Japan would be better in quality due to the limited storage facility and conditions in a cargo ship with no temperature control.

The potatoes also had to be cleaned of all soil that may have covered the potato to clear customs so would be bone dry as well.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japanese consumers don't want herbicide contaminated GMO potatoes from the US.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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