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Wet weather causes potato shortage in new Zealand

Signs have been spotted at Pak'n Save informing customers of the difficulty in stocking potato chips due to the potato shortage.

Stocks of the potato chips are stretched thin as New Zealand battles a nationwide potato shortage after the wet winter.

Signs have been spotted at New Zealand supermarket chain Pak'n Save informing customers of the difficulty in stocking potato chips due to the shortage.

Update: No Shortage

Foodstuffs spokeswoman Antoinette Laird said the potato chip supplier to Pak 'n Save and New World supermarkets had not been affected, despite a statement on Sunday suggesting the company was struggling to meet demand.

Some Pak 'n Save supermarkets had posted notices warning customers of "trouble stocking potato chips" due to a nationwide potato shortage.

But Laird said on Monday that the sign was wrong.

Antoinette Laird:

"We hold a lot of product in our distribution centres and so we aren't short at this stage."
Some growers were struggling with the impact of the weather, but the weather played a part in potato production every year, she said.

Antoinette Laird:

"We work with our supplier community to manage any supply and demand issues.”

“The grower community is highlighting a potential future potato shortage due to the bad weather we've had this year.”

“This has not impacted our business as yet, and we are working with our suppliers to minimise any potential impact."
A spokesman for Countdown also said the chain was not experiencing any shortages of potato chips:

"Our suppliers have said that there could be fewer potato chips supplied in the coming months, however we will work directly with our suppliers to manage this.”

“There is no impact on fresh or frozen potatoes, or other snacking categories."
Source: Stuff, October 16 2017
A spokeswoman of Foodstuffs (Pak'n Save owner) said some of the potato chip suppliers were "having challenges meeting demand" due to the wet weather conditions.

"We are working closely with our suppliers to manage supply as much as possible.”

“"It is anticipated new season crops will be harvested in the next few weeks so supply is likely to settle down then."
It is not yet believed that the shortage will impact on the availability of fresh potato stocks.

Wet conditions right through winter have had two effects on crops, Pukekohe Vegetable Growers Association president Brent Wilcox said.

Brent Wilcox, president Pukekohe Vegetable Growers Association:

"Planting up new season crops, growers haven't been able to plant the crops on time because the ground's been so wet."
Other crops have been lost because the potatoes have been in the ground over winter, and the wet conditions have caused them to rot.

Wilcox said the financial impact was "millions of dollars" for farmers, who may struggle for the rest of the year to return supply to normal.

Brent Wilcox:

"It's been quite stressful for growers . . . some growers have lost crops, they've been flooded."
Wilcox said wet weather impacting potato growing happened "to an extent" every year, "but this is quite, perhaps, more extreme than it has been for a while."

Shoppers would have noticed prices for potatoes and potato products had "firmed" in the last month or so, he said.

New Zealand was last hit by a potato shortage in late 2014 to early 2015 for similar reasons.