Britons will be served up shorter chips this year as potato farmers across Europe struggle to cope with the worst summer drought for decades. Britain eats 1.75 million tonnes of frozen chips every year and is, alongside the US, the world’s largest importer of the product. Almost all frozen fry imports to Britain, about 750,000 tonnes, come from the Netherlands and Belgium.
The hot weather and lack of rain has hit European crop yields, resulting in a drop of about 20% in Northern Europe, and made the potatoes, usually the size of a small brick, smaller. That will mean smaller, shorter chips, potato experts in Britain and Belgium have warned.
“This was the hottest British summer since 1976, which any potato person will tell you was an almost mythical year,” said Cedric Porter, editor of World Potato Markets, “it is still talked about in potato circles. The chips are down,” he said, “You can expect smaller chips in Britain and in Europe.” Read more