Three planes to fly potatoes to ease Japan french-fries shortage

Where a shortage of spuds has caused McDonald’s in the country to ration french fries.
Image: Bloomberg

US freight forwarder Flexport Inc. will help fly three planes loaded with potatoes to Japan, where a shortage of spuds has caused McDonald’s in the country to ration french fries.

“Flexport just contracted to fly three 747 loads of potatoes to Japan to help with the French fry shortage,” Chief Executive Officer Ryan Petersen said in a tweet, without providing details. Petersen said in a post last week that he had been learning about McDonald’s struggle with french fry shortages in the country.

McDonald’s Holdings Co. Japan said December 21 that it would only offer small sizes of french fries after flooding at a Vancouver port and the Covid-19 pandemic cut off key supplies for the staple menu item. Footage from a local television report showed customers forming long lines at one of the stores in Tokyo to get their last orders of the larger portion fries before the ration went into effect.

The fast-food company has said it expects the issue to be resolved by New Year’s Eve and that it was arranging alternative shipment options like airplanes. McDonald’s Holdings Co. Japan couldn’t confirm or deny it’s using Flexport to import its potatoes. The sale of medium and large size fries will resume as planned on December 31, a spokeswoman said by telephone on Wednesday. Flexport’s Petersen didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The shortage isn’t just limited to Japan. In New York, iconic burger joint J.G. Melon said in an Instagram post last week that it was suspending sales of its cottage fries due to supply-chain issues. Flow of products from cream cheese to chicken tenders has also come under strain.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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