Fast food restaurants driving increased demand for frozen potatoes in Japan

After storms decimated Japanese potato production in MY 2016/17, a recent report issued by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service in Japan (FAS/Tokyo) forecasts a substantial recovery of Japanese potato production in MY 2017/18 to 2.315 million metric tons, largely restoring production to pre-typhoon levels. Strong growth in Japan’s fast food and restaurant sectors, drove increased demand for frozen potato products such as french fries. Accordingly, FAS/Tokyo forecasts a six percent increase in Japan’s import and consumption of frozen potato products in MY 2017/18 (to 385,000 MT). Despite a reduced planted area in MY 2017/18, FAS/Tokyo also forecasts Japan’s fresh potato production to recover substantially to 2.315 million MT, an increase of 7.2 percent from MY 2016/17, but 2.7 percent less than MY 2015/16. Much of the recovery can be attributed to the planting of off-standard seed potatoes, which allowed farmers to stretch the available seed potatoes. Full report