Cost of chips could soar within weeks after heatwave hits potato crops

Cost of chips could soar within weeks after heatwave hits potato crops

The cost of chips could soar within weeks and shortages are feared after the heatwave hit potato crops this summer.

This summer’s record high temperatures – which saw parts of the UK reach 40 degrees – have caused the main potato crop to wilt.

Farmers say potatoes are particularly vulnerable to heatwaves because they are 80% water.

The soaring temperatures were also experienced during the crop’s most important growing period.

Earlier in August, Tom Bradshaw, from the NFU union, told trade magazine The Grocer that the water shortage was “critical”.

He said: “I can’t see how potato yields are going to be anything but well below average — onion yields the same.“

A spokesperson from the Isle of Ely Produce added: “Indications are that the heat has really wrecked crops and any rain now could hurt yields further.“

But another wholesaler told The Grocer magazine: “There is a lot of speculation at the moment.

“The chip guys have already put through significant increases in the last 12 months due to fuel and energy costs and this is the next opportunity for them to increase the price.

“However, we won’t get a true picture until they have lifted the crop in September or October.”

In certain areas of the UK, there has not been any substantial rainfall since the Jubilee weekend and it has been dubbed the driest July since 1935.

Eight out of 14 areas in England were affected by the drought alerts announced on Friday 12 August with restrictions being put in place for their water usage.

This includes: Devon and Cornwall, East Anglia, Thames, Kent and South London and East Midlands.

The news piles yet more pressure on fish and chip shops, which have already felt the effects of rocketing costs.

Chippies on the brink of closure have faced startling price rises of more than 13% – but business owners warn the picture is even bleaker.

Industry bosses fear the cost of living crisis could force 3,000 of the UK’s estimated 10,500 chippies to close as Brits will no longer have the cash for the traditional treat.

Research by the Labour Party found that the price of flour and cereals have risen by 19.3% in the past year, while fish is up by 8% and oils and fats by 16.6%.

However, it is not just UK companies that are feeling the impact.

Problems are being faced around the world, with McDonald’s already taking large portions of French fries off the menu in countries such as Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia because of limited availability.