— せかひた@うめ展〜ひだまりラジオ公開録音 (@sekahita) April 17, 2017
Can you imagine a world devoid of potato chips? Terrifying, right? Well that terror is sweeping Japan now.
After last year’s summer brought a flurry of typhoons to Hokkaido, Japan’s main island for potato production, the crop was all but destroyed, according to FOX News. This has led to a nationwide shortage of the tuber and forced Calbee, Japan’s leading snack manufacturer, to halt the sale of 15 different types of potato chips altogether.
Calbee’s potato chips are apparently the most beloved snack food in the entire country, so the chip shortage has called for some desperate measures to be taken.
Shelves are being cleared in stores across the affected areas of the shortage, and a black market has begun to pop up for the snack. Some bags of potato chips are going for as much as 1500 yen, or around 14 US Dollars, on auction sites.
Calbee spokeswoman Rie Makuuchi told Bloomberg that the company was “doing everything we can to resume sales again,” but there’s some hurdles the company is having difficulty clearing. While Calbee is waiting for the summer’s potato crop to flourish and pleading potato farmers in the southern island of Kyushu to harvest early, they’re trying to import potatoes over from countries like the United States. Because Japan has a legal limit on the amount of foreign potatoes that can be used in manufacturing, however, Calbee won’t be able to use imports as a surefire solution to this problem.
If this year’s crop flourishes, then the potato chip shortage should be over soon. But until then, Japan is going to be reeling from missing out on their favorite snack unless they’re willing to pay a much higher price for their chips.