Potato supply shortage in Philippines

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Restaurant price hikes and fast-food serving reductions

SUPPLY chain issues in the Philippines since the start of the year have impacted on restaurant prices and led to a shortage of popular products like French fries and crisps.

But the country's Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Kristine Evangelista has assured people that the supply of local varieties of potatoes remains sufficient for the country, saying in a recent radio interview: “As far as the Department of Agriculture is concerned, our local potatoes, which unfortunately are not the variety used for french fries, are very very much sufficient. In reality, we have a surplus.”

However, she acknowledged that these varieties are different from potatoes used by popular restaurant chains and in the production of some potato products such as chips.

According to the agriculture undersecretary, several fast-food restaurant chains have limited their portions of select products that use imported potatoes. Popular restaurant chains McDonald's and Jollibee have noticeably been reducing servings of french fries which use imported potatoes.

Restaurant Owners of the Philippines (RestoPH) president Ric Teng said there has been a hike in restaurant prices in the country.

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In an interview with BusinessWorld, he blamed the Ukraine-Russia conflict and the global pandemic.

“Inevitably, we have to pass on the price increase to the consumer. But restaurants don’t want to raise their prices too much because they don’t want to scare their guests,” He said in the interview.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said efforts were being made to link local producers with restaurants.

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