Japanese potato chip shortage has snackers paying $12-a-bag

After a bad potato crop on the island of Hokkaido — a major potato-producing region of Japan — potato chips in the country are in a serious crunch time.

The popular Japanese snack food maker Calbee announced on Monday that it will be temporarily ceasing the sale of 15 types of their potato chips, reports Bloomberg. Now panic has set in, and demand for the salty snacks has skyrocketed.

Calbee’s pizza-flavored chips for example, were reportedly selling for around 1,250 yen (roughly $11.50) on an auction website earlier today. One bag would usually sell for less than 200 yen ($1.80).

Although the potato chip crisis is a little unconventional, pricey food isn’t a new phenomenon in Japan. Okuda Nichio’s prized tennis-ball sized Bijin-hime strawberries are a perfect example. One of the 500 “scoop shaped” fruits he grows each year can sell for $4,395. Likewise, a bunch of Ruby Roman grapes — of which only 2,400 bunches are grown each year — will sell for around $880.

[Bloomberg]