Calbee to resume potato chip sales after halt in spud shortage

Snack food maker Calbee Inc. said Thursday it will restart sales of three brands of potato chips it halted in April from next week, as it is now able to procure a steady supply of potatoes.

Calbee had stopped sales of some of its potato chip brands due to a crop shortage in Japan after Hokkaido was hit by a series of typhoons last August resulting in a poor harvest.

But as potato harvesting started in other areas last month, the company has the main ingredient to resume sales of Pizza Potato and two other brands starting Monday.

The shortage sparked a buying frenzy in Japan as people stockpiled bags of their favorite chips, and other major snack food companies were also forced to partially suspend their potato chip production.

While snack producers in the country prefer domestic crops due in part to the difficulty of exterminating harmful insects from imported potatoes, about 80 percent of domestic potatoes come from Hokkaido.

Four typhoons lashed northern Japan last August, an unprecedented number over such a short period of time. The rain and flooding severely damaged agriculture, with potato production in Hokkaido declining 10 percent year on year to 1.72 million tons in 2016.

Calbee said it received over 1,000 requests to restart sales over a period of two months.

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