The violent weather hit the island of Hokkaido, which produces almost 80% of Japan’s potatoes. As a result, the country’s spring-planted potato harvest is the smallest in over 30 years.

Consumers are now feeling the effect of the storms as shop shelves that are usually jam packed with crisps are lying empty.

The highly sought after snacks are selling for inflated prices online, with reports of bags that usually sell for 200 yen ($1.80) going for around 1,250 yen ($12). Meanwhile multi-packs are reaching thousands of yen.

Production has also been halted by crisp making companies. Calbee, one of the largest crisp manufacturers in Japan, tweeted that it was suspending or terminating some production and was hoping to return to normal in the future.

Photo: @sakahita on Twitter

It it understood that around 30 different types of crisps made by the company are no longer for sale and many Twitter users pleaded with the company to “do its best” to get crisps back on the shelves.

Strict import rules contributing to problem

“We’re doing everything we can to resume sales again,” Calbee spokesperson Rie Makuuchi told Bloomberg.

She said the company will consider using more imported potatoes from the US and potato farmers in the southern island of Kyushu have been asked to harvest their crop earlier than scheduled.

Japan has strict regulations on imports of potatoes that can be used in products and Makuuchi blamed this as part of the current supply problem.

It is expected that chipping exports to Japan will increase by 20% to 35,000 metric tonnes this year.

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