200m pounds of French fries frozen in Canada
With freezers at capacity, there is a chance the rest will go to waste
Canadian potato farmers have had to freeze almost 200 million pounds of potatoes that stand to otherwise go to waste. The majority of the potatoes were destined to become french fries – and, while sales of potatoes at grocery stores have increased, the demand from restaurants and fast food joints has disappeared.
Around three quarters of the potatoes produced in Canada are sold to restaurants and fast food establishments and, with these places being closed for the lockdown, there is a backlog of produce.
The sheer volume of produce has filled freezers to the point that there are now concerns that they will start to go to waste. Producers are delaying the processing of the potatoes into fries to enable them to be stored for longer, but they cannot be stored indefinitely.
Growers are starting to donate their overstock to local food banks, but independently packing and transporting them is proving a challenge.
The situation is having a knock-on effect on the next crop; with suppliers receiving greatly reduced orders, they are left unsure how much to plant.
Agriculture and Agri-food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau has been contacted on behalf of growers to request federal intervention to maintain the industry and, while they are yet to receive a response, they remain hopeful that financial help will be provided to ensure producers can stay afloat.