KFC runs out of potatoes as farmers struggle with oversupply (2023)

KFC runs out of potatoes as farmers struggle with oversupply (1)

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), an American fast-food restaurant chain, announced that it had run out of potato fries even as local farmers struggled with an oversupply of the produce.

In a tweet, the fast-food restaurant said following increased demand for their fries over the festive season, the franchise had run out of fries and thus was only serving ugali, chicken, soda, buns and coleslaw.

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“Fam it was truly a Furaha December. Mlikula sherehe with your KFC faves (You celebrated with your favourite KFC dish). Ya’ll loved our chips a little too much, and we’ve run out,” said KFC in a tweet.

This even as local farmers continued to experience a glut, with farm gate price of the 90kg bag hitting an all-time low of between Sh450 and Sh600 in Molo, Nakuru County.

Nakuru County, according to the census results of 2019, had the highest number of households that grow potatoes. Other major potato-growing counties include Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kiambu, and Murang’a.

KFC does not use locally produced potatoes to prepare its fries but instead, imports them from Egypt as there is not yet anybody in Kenya who can supply large quantities of pre-cut sliced blanched frozen potatoes.

However, according to data from the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), a visualisation tool for international trade data, the main source of Kenya’s imported potatoes is the Netherlands, which supplies nearly 90 per cent of the tuber.

India was the largest source of imported potatoes globally, supplying 10.4 per cent of the food crop.

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Potatoes are Kenya’s second most important food crop, after maize. The quantity of potatoes produced in the country decreased to 1.9 million bags last year from two million bags in 2019, official data shows.

However, a decline in effective demand due to job losses saw a kilo of the crop retail at an average price of Sh67.3 last year, a drop of 5.34 per cent from Sh71.1 in 2019.“People who were eating out find it cheaper to eat from home,” said Dr Timothy Njagi, a research fellow at Tegemeo Institute, a public policy think-tank.

However, the demand for potatoes in fast-food joints surged after the easing of the social distancing rules, peaking in December as Kenyans went for eat outs with friends and families.

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What are the major challenges of KFC? ›

Now, some of the challenges that are faced by KFC are listed. The challenges are faced in terms of cultural, political, economic, technological, competitive and physical barriers. Cultural- The cultural challenges that is faced by KFC is due to the diversity in different cultures.

Why did KFC run out of fries? ›

KFC Singapore's fries are imported from the U.S. and Europe, Hoo said. Labor shortages and lower crop yields in the Pacific Northwest—where the famous Idaho potatoes are grown—have been exacerbated by congestion at U.S. and Canadian ports on the west coast, she said.

What is the KFC controversy? ›

KFC has apologised after sending a promotional message to customers in Germany, urging them to commemorate Kristallnacht with cheesy chicken. The Nazi-led series of attacks in the country in 1938 left more than 90 Jewish people dead, and destroyed Jewish-owned businesses and places of worship.

Who supplies KFC with potatoes? ›

KFC imports potatoes from Egypt. The restaurant says the country observes set standards that improve the potato quality, something the Kenyan farmers don't do.

How does KFC negatively impact the environment? ›

A complicated history with KFC's paper supplier has affected the personal opinion of the brand. The paper company is linked to deforestation, which negatively impacts the health of the planet. It also contributes to the endangerment of wildlife and similar species who are already on the brink of extinction.

How did KFC overcome their challenges? ›

But, after confronting difficulties he came up with a very incredible idea of frying chicken. His recipe was unique and after opening one store, he finally got success. There were so many startup challenges faced by the owner of KFC but after all complications, he gave us his very delicious fried chicken.


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