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McDonald’s Malaysia Impacted by Global Potato Shortage

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Apart from Malaysia, McDonald’s outlets in countries like Japan have been forced to ration their fries because of supply disruptions.

Die-hard fans of the Golden Arches have been hit with an unexpected conundrum: no more sales of large-sized fries in several countries. In Malaysia, the brand’s social media accounts announced that it would be taking off large-size fries and set meals effective from January 24, 2022.

“We are facing a fry-tening supply crunch on French Fries,” the brand said. “But fret not. While you can’t Go Large for the time being, you can still enjoy your favorite meals and fries in Medium size.”

“Time fries… It’ll be back before you know it.”

Image Credit: McDonald’s Malaysia Instagaram

Cheeky references aside, what looks like a straightforward potato shortage may actually be a culmination of varying reasons, bolstered by a global pandemic and escalated by powerful corporations.


Interestingly, many of the problems surrounding the issue do not necessarily reflect an actual potato shortage. For instance, McDonald’s Japan has also restricted French fry purchases to small sizes only, citing the global shortage, but not because they’ve run out of potato stocks.

McDonald's Japan Ration Fries As It Can't Get Enough Imported Potatoes
McDonald’s Japan forced to ration their fries, offering only small sizes.
| Image Credit: Business Insider

McDonald’s Japan uses fries imported from North America, which go through the Port of Vancouver, Canada. Both Canada and South Africa faced extreme weather conditions in the recent past, with Canada discovering an outbreak of potato fungus. On top of which, the Port of Vancouver experienced a disastrous flood in November which led to a huge backlog of container ships from which the supply chain is still recovering.

How KFC in Kenya got fried over its chip shortage - BBC News
Kenyan farmers with an oversupply of locally grown potatoes. | Image Credit: BBC

McDonald’s isn’t the only fast food chain facing shortage on their supply of fries. KFC Kenya has been facing a lot of customer backlash with their potato shortage because of their refusal to accept locally farmed potatoes. Kenyan potato farmers have expressed their incredulity and anger at how the fast food chain doesn’t support locally grown potatoes when they are able to produce more than a million tonnes per year with no signs of shortages. KFC’s response included factors such as shipping delays in Egypt —where they source their potatoes from, brought on by pandemic-related issues.

By the look of things, the global potato industry is suffering more from a lack of versatility and capitalistic monopolisation rather than an actual shortage. Evidently, the issue has now affected the supply chain of McDonald’s Malaysia, with there being no confirmed date as to when large-sized fries will return to the menu.

In the meantime, customers might just benefit from the lower calorie count of the smaller portions!

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