If You Noticed French Fries Have Been Getting Shorter, You're Not Alone

Standard, crinkle, or steak-cut, french fries are going to look a bit different in the coming months. Following a particularly tough harvest, The Telegraph confirms that smaller spuds — and consequently, shorter fries — could be soon popping up at supermarkets not only in the UK, but across the globe. Here's what you need to know.

People love potatoes, but they love fries even more. According to Fox News, Americans collectively devour over 4.5 billion pounds of fries annually. Made by cutting potatoes lengthwise into uniform strips and then frying, these golden spears are an unsurprising favorite among the masses. With a perfectly crisp exterior and soft interior, it's hard to replace the iconic french-fried potatoes. However, our fry-eating habits might soon change ever so slightly.

It's never been unusual to find the odd, short fry in a pile of potatoes. Stubbier spuds, according to Idaho Potatoes, are often the result of production mishaps like incomplete cuts from a worn blade, fracture during handling, or simply, smaller potatoes. The latter is the current cause of short french fries, but what's the reason for these minuscule tubers?

Climate change is the culprit when it comes to tiny taters

While shortages on shelves are not expected, Sky News reports that fresh potatoes are likely to be smaller and covered in a few more blemishes than normal following record-breaking high temperatures and a scarcity of water that swept the globe last summer. National Farmers Union's potato forum chair Tim Rooke told The Telegraph the past few months have been "very difficult" for the potato industry. "Potato farming is not in a particularly good place at the moment," he admitted. Rooke also said customers will "have to accept that the chips that we buy may not be as long as they normally are."

But, this isn't the first time something like this has happened. Almost four decades ago, The Washington Post reported that heavy rain led to low yields of smaller-sized potatoes, prompting both a sparsity of spuds and even threatening potato chip production.

The good news, however, is that we probably won't be forced to embrace shorter fries forever as newer, more resistant cultivars could mean the return of long and lengthy fries. According to NBC News, University of Maine researchers are trying to develop a potato variety that can withstand warming temperatures and all the risks associated with a fickler growing season — french fry lovers, rejoice!