Potato Shortage: Chips Run Out for KFC in Kenya

Fast food restaurant chain, KFC Kenya says they are out of French fries, and the only option left for its customers is ugali, one piece of chicken, two buns and 500ml of soft drink.

Fast food restaurant chain, KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) Kenya says they are out of French fries, and the only option left for its customers is ugali, one piece of chicken, two buns and 500ml of soft drink.

The shortage is due to the ongoing challenges facing the shipping and logistics industries. This has disrupted the supply routes for KFC Kenya’s potatoes.

“Ya’ll loved our chips a little too much, and we’ve run out. Sorry! Our team is working hard to resolve the issue,” KFC Kenya Tweeted.

Indeed, frequent customers at their various outlets noticed the change in taste.

Kuku Foods East Africa Holdings is the owner of KFC franchises in East Africa. It operates 24 outlets spread across the country. However, they do not source potatoes locally due to global quality standards.

“The reason we cannot buy local at the moment is all suppliers need to go through the global QA approval process and we cannot bypass that even if we run out to ensure that our food is safe for consumption by our customers,” says the firm’s Chief Executive for East Africa Jacques Theunissen.

In 2019, the Competition Authority of Kenya said the fast-food business is dominated by Java with a market share of 34%, followed by Innscor that comprises Pizza Inn, Galitos and Creamy Inn with a market share of 16 per cent while KFC is third with a market share of 15 per cent.

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According to The National Potato Council of Kenya, per capital potato consumption is estimated at 25 Kilograms a year with a total consumption of 2.3 Million Metric Tons of potatoes estimated by 2022.

“Moreover, the urban potato demand is growing at 7 per cent annually. This is because of the increased urban population and changing eating behavior.”

“However, the current productivity of potatoes of between 7-10 T/Ha is way below the potential productivity of between 30-40 T/ha. The low productivity is because of inadequate supply of quality seed of preferred varieties, poor agronomic practices, high postharvest losses, and unstructured markets,” it says in its National Potato Strategy (2021-2025).

There are 13 major potato-producing counties which are: Meru, Nyeri, Nyandarua, Kiambu, Taita-Taveta, Nakuru, Narok, Bomet, ElgeyoMarakwet, Trans-Nzoia, Bungoma, Uasin- Gishu and West Pokot.

Other potato producing counties include Kisii, Nyamira, Kirinyaga, Muranga, Baringo, Nandi, Laikipia and Kericho. Upcoming potato producing counties include Machakos, Makueni, Embu, Kajiado, Tharaka Nithi, Samburu, Kwale and Nairobi.