KFC-lovers in Japan will be a few French fry stacks short of a bargain bucket for the foreseeable future as the fast food chain is the latest in the country to be blighted by a potato shortage.
Industrial strikes by dockworkers on the west coast of the US mean that Japan has found it so difficult to secure a steady supply of chips due to disrupted or cancelled shipments that even market-leading McDonald’s had to start rationing its servings last month.
“The company will halt the sales of potatoes temporarily until a stable supply becomes available,” KFC in Japan said in a statement yesterday.
How Christmas is celebrated around the world
How Christmas is celebrated around the world
In Japan, people book into KFC restaurants or pre-order their KFC Christmas dinners months in advance f the 25th December, to make sure they can eat their traditional fried chicken. The specific eating of KFC on Christmas day was started by an advertising campaign run by the fast-food chain in 1974, and worked so well that it has passed into lore
In Catalonia a small log, with a red hat, is looked after by children. The Tio de Nadal, or poo log, is kept warm under a blanket and 'fed' Turron every evening from 8 December to ensure he eventually poos out lots of treats on Christmas Eve.
Another Catalonian tradition is the the Caganer, a small figure sometimes modeled on public figures, who is always shown crouching with his pants around his ankles while he defecates on the floor. The figurine is placed among nativity scenes, and his faeces is seen as a sign of good luck as it fertilizes the earth, helping to bring a good harvest the next year
AFP PHOTO/LLUIS GENE
Children in Germany put out their shoes to be filled with sweets, not stockings, and they do this much earlier in the month, on 5 December. If they have been bad, their shoe will contain branches with their presents - which is supposed to represent a hiding
Norwegian tradition dictates that witches and evil spirits arise on Christmas Eve, steal peoples' broomsticks and fly through the air. This is why people hide their broomsticks the day before Christmas - and any other similar items - to prevent this
Canada's postal service dedicates time every year to responding to children's letters to Santa, and has a special postal code - H0H 0H0 - where letters can be addressed to. More than 15 million letters are thought to have been responded to in the past 27 years, and they now respond to emails, too
7/10 South Africa
To keep kids from being too greedy around Christmas, South Africa has the legend of Danny, a little boy who was brutally murdered by his grandmother because he ate Santa's cookies.
In some Austrian alpine towns, young men dress up as the terrifying Krampus - the storied anti-Saint Nick who beats naughty children with tree branches.
The old Estonian tradition of a family sauna at Christmas (and New Years) endures. It's normally done just before a Christmas eve church service.
At Christmas time Guatemalans sweep their homes, collect the dust and place it at the foot of a neighbourhood effigy of the devil.
AFP / Getty
KFC, who has now taken to advertising meals with coleslaw instead of chips on its website, is so popular in Japan that fried chicken is eaten as a Christmas-time meal or side dish after it was promoted by the company as a festive food in 1974.
Even the ubiquitous Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of the restaurant chain, travelled to the Far East to see the Japanese operations himself on three separate occasions in 1972, 1978 and 1980.
To soften the blow of a total mass shortage of fries, McDonald’s in Japan had to airlift around 1,000 tonnes of chips in an emergency shipment to fulfil customers’ golden-arched expectations but with much smaller portions than normal, the company had announced in December.
Customers of McDonald’s in Malaysia, more than 3,000 miles (5,000km) south from Japan, will be missing out on curly fries variety to go with the new “Prosperity Burger” that was launched yesterday due to the same strikes held by US dockworkers over pay and work conditions.
However, the shortage of normal French fries has yet to reach Malaysia and both McDonald’s and KFC in the southeast Asian nation are on the look-out for more reliable suppliers to avoid a similar situation to Japan.
A representative of MacDonald’s in Malaysia told the country’s Rakyat Post: “Japan was affected first because the volume of french fries consumed there is very high. It is not yet a problem here in Malaysia and we will advise our customers if the situation changes.”Reuse content