Potato Chips Are Vanishing In Japan, Panic Buying Begins 

Potato Chips Are Vanishing In Japan, Panic Buying Begins 

Typhoons that hit Hokkaido last August have resulted in a domestic spud shortage for Japan. Know what fewer potatoes means? Fewer potato chips. And like that, the panic buying has begun.

[Image: ashuu_neruzumin]

According to Jiji, Japanese snack companies Calbee and Koikeya are ceasing the sale of numerous potato chip products because of this shortage. Japan Today reports that starting April 15, Calbee will no longer ship 18 potato chip snack varieties, and from April 22, it will temporarily suspend 15 more varieties, including its Big Bag Lightly Salted, which might be the country’s most iconic potato chip.

Calbee was hoping to use American imports during the shortage, but apparently cannot meet demand. Japan Today adds that Calbee also said American potatoes aren’t up to snuff quality-wise. Koikeya, meanwhile, is temporarily discontinuing nine of its potato chip varieties, citing the fact the company uses 100 per cent Japanese spuds.

Not all potato chips are disappearing from Japan. However, because the sale of certain popular varieties are either ceasing or stopping temporarily, stock is already vanishing from certain store shelves.

Note: This isn’t happening everywhere (for example, as of yesterday, this store and this one seem to be stocked), and like I said, it isn’t happening to all types of chips. The brand that appears to be hit hardest is Pizza Potato, which is one of the varieties Calbee will no longer make.

Like clockwork, bags of Pizza Potato are also appearing on Japanese internet auction sites.

I went to five different stores last night in Osaka, and I can confirm that, yes, specific varieties impacted by this are in short supply, if not selling out.

As you can see, some people are buying a lot of these endangered varieties.

Or recommending that you buy before they’re gone.

Here are photos of the situation from across the country. Some stores are cleaned out.


  • Fuck me, how many pictures of empty shelves do you need, Kotaku? Maybe you could have stuck some interesting content in those shelves, you know, about the electric man, and the frozen man, and guy that pulls a plane with his nose or whatever fucking nonsense you want to shove in our faces every two ”articles”. Jesus Christ, sort your shit out.

    • I can now say that i have officially seen every supermarket shelf in Japan. One less item on my bucketlist.

    • You’ve been here for nine years, if you haven’t figured out by now that Kotaku regularly covers Japanese and otaku culture then you’re a very slow learner.

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