Brits may be tucking into small chips next year – because the summer’s heatwave-induced drought has cause European potatoes to shrink.
Farmers have blamed the smaller crop on the extremely hot weather and lack of rain over the past few months. And thanks to the crop shortage, potato experts are advising chips could be as much as an inch shorter in 2019 as a result.
Britain is the largest importer of frozen chips in the world alongside the United States, consuming a hefty 1.75 million tonnes every year.
Around 750,000 tonnes of frozen chips are sourced from Belgium and the Netherlands, where farmers have suffered a 20 per cent drop in crop yields.
The remaining million tonnes are made from British potatoes.
Even here in the UK farmers are feeling the pinch, having been faced with a ten to 15 per cent drop in crop yields.
Britain is one of the biggest consumers of potatoes in the Europe Union, with 100kg of potatoes being consumed by the average person each year.
Cedric Porter, editor of World Potatoes Market, told The Daily Telegraph: “This was the hottest British summer since 1976, which any potato person will tell you was an almost mythical year.
“It is still talked about in potato circles.
“The chips are down. You can expect smaller chips in Britain and in Europe.”
Mr Porter added that Belgian and Dutch farmers have also been hit hard by the hot weather and could struggle to fulfill their contracts.
The low yields this summer have seen the price of potatoes soar, with costs rising from as little as £8.90 per ton to £222 per ton.
Pierre Lebrun, coordinator of the potato sector of Wallonia in Belgium’s southern French-speaking region added its potatoes could shrink by as much as three centimetres.
He said: “We will all eat small fries. We are all in the same boat. Generally, to have long fries, we work with tubers with a diameter of more than 50mm.
“Then you get friend of eight to nine millimetres. This time, as the tubers are smaller, the fries will be smaller.”