The next food insecurity problem that may impact the way Americans eat could be an emerging potato shortage that began last year when yields were depressed due to a heatwave, according to Boise State Public Radio.
“I’m not sure if you remember last June, but we had some just unbelievably hot temperatures here in Idaho. It did a number on our potato crop,” Jamey Higham, president and CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission, told the Idaho-based media outlet. “And so, our yields were significantly down last year.”
Boise State Public Radio pointed out that last year’s potato crop cycle should last through August, though the lack of the starchy vegetable has already presented consumers with higher prices at the supermarket.
“There is not a gap. There are just less potatoes being shipped right now than there normally are this time of year because of the shorter supply that we started the season with,” said Higham.
He said Idaho produced the most potatoes in the country last year, and what happens to crop yields in the state will influence prices across the country.
“As the fresh market goes, the grocery stores – your Albertsons, Walmart, WinCo, that stuff – it is not just Idaho that’s having high prices right now. It’s the other states as well.”
Higham expects potato prices to remain high through the rest of the year.
“I don’t anticipate these prices staying high long term. And once harvest gets underway, it’ll get back down into a better spot. But I do expect prices to be strong all year this year.”