Where are the frozen chips and when will they be back?

You’ve probably noticed there are few – maybe no – frozen potato chips at your supermarket. But has anyone explained why?

It’s not panic buying, at least not too much, but a result of floods and potatoes’ fickle growing requirements.

Unlike many other crops that were in short supply in the past 12 months, such as lettuce that has a quick turnaround, potatoes take three to four months to mature. With many prime potato-growing regions damaged by floods – some several times over – it’s been difficult to harvest a decent crop and, in some cases, impossible to plant a crop in the first place.

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Apparently, size does matter.  

Victorian Farmers Federation horticulture vice-president Katherine Myers told SBS the size of potatoes was pivotal when processing them as opposed to selling them fresh.

“The larger the potato, the better the skin-to-potato ratio,” she says. “When you’ve got smaller potatoes, you have a lot more wastage in the factory.”

Ms Myers says frozen chips also need to be made to very high specifications.

“Potato cakes and things like that get covered in batter, wedges get covered in batter, so you’re less likely to see shortages of those type products because there are more varieties that can be used and the quality doesn’t have to be as specific,” she says.

Ms Myers says Australia also imports about 30 per cent of its potatoes and a drought in Europe was creating a “double whammy” on the supply chain. She expects the shortages to continue for the next 12 months.

For our family, it’s had one good outcome. We went to our local pub for a meal last week and they obviously had made their own chips and they were delicious. Long may it continue.

Read: Bad money habits that can cost you dearly

This week’s best deals


Sensible: Sanitarium Up & Go, 6 x 250ml, half price, $4.93. Of course there are more healthy snacks out there, but it’s hard to beat an Up & Go for convenience. 

Indulgence: Australian butterflied lamb legs, $22.99/kg. I love a butterflied leg of lamb for barbecues. Bung on a bit of marinade, grill fat side down for 20 to 30 minutes, baste and turn over for another half an hour or so and you’re done. The good thing about butterflied lamb is that the different thicknesses mean there are cooking levels to suit everyone, from well done for heathens to near raw and bloody for me.

See the catalogue here.


Sensible: Cancer Council Kids or Sport Sunscreen, 500ml, half price $14.50. Let’s face it, sunscreen is a must, but it’s also expensive. Any time you see such a clear bargain, snap it up, because you’ll end up using it sometime. 

Indulgence: Allen’s medium bag varieties, half price $1.80. Someone at Coles has answered my prayers and the Frosty Fruit/Allen’s lollies crossover is back. I’ll be buying six packs at this price. Oh, and there are other varieties as well – jelly beans and whatever.

See the catalogue here.

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Sensible: The Fishmonger Smoked Salmon, $8.99. This works out at $44.95, which is a very good price for smoked salmon. A great light lunch meal on a bagel with cream cheese and finely chopped Spanish onion or capers, or both.

Indulgence: Luv-A-Duck whole duck, $17.99. If you’ve never tried duck before, here’s your chance. My advice is to elevate it off the bottom of the roasting pan and prick it all over with a skewer as there is a power of fat underneath the skin that you don’t want your meat to sit in while cooking. However, don’t throw that away. Duck fat potatoes, while no-one’s idea of a healthy meal, are a delicious addition to any roast.

See the catalogue here.


Sensible: Australian blueberries, $2.50 a punnet. I for one am glad blueberries have become so popular. They are little bundles of health and happiness. At this price, buy a half-dozen punnets and put some in your freezer for smoothies.

Indulgence: Woolworths Indulgent Apple and Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns, four pack, $4. I’m one of the few people who don’t get their knickers in a twist with the early arrival of hot cross buns. How can you get grumpy at the opportunity to eat a delicious sweet bun all year round? Anyway, I don’t like to stray too far from the original recipe – chocolate can go in the bin. The apple and cinnamon are my fave twist on the usual fruit flavour. 

See the catalogue here.

Do you buy frozen chips? Have you had to substitute them with another product such as sweet potato? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

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