Small fries: Why summer heatwave may mean we have to put up with shorter chips

Chip lovers may have to settle for smaller versions of their favourite treat - after fears the dry summer has led to smaller potatoes.

Tim Rooke, chair of the National Farmers Union's potato forum, said potato farming is "not in a particularly good place at the moment" after a difficult harvest.

While shortages on shelves are not expected, Mr Rooke said people would "have to accept that the chips that we buy may not be as long as they normally are".

He added: "Certainly the fresh potatoes that you buy from the supermarket may not just be as big as we'd hope they'd be.

"Maybe the baking potatoes won't be as big and maybe they'll have a few more blemishes on them than normal."

The UK suffered a severe drought over the summer, with July the driest on record.

This summer's weather wasn't bad news for all producers, however.

A new study suggested wine production could boom in Britain as the climate crisis transforms conditions to those similar in famous vineyard regions such as France's Champagne and Burgundy, and Baden in Germany.

Sparkling wine varieties such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay will begin to reliably grow in a far greater area of England and Wales as the country heats up, the paper published in peer-reviewed OENO One predicted.

The wine industry has already grown 400% from 761 to 3,800 hectares between 2004 and 2021, the paper found, driven in part by pollution from human activity that has warmed the planet.

Meanwhile, the extra sunshine led to a growth spurt this summer for both strawberries and cherries across the country including in Kent, Norfolk, Lancashire, Scotland and Herefordshire.

Tesco berries buying manager Laura Mitchell said at the time: "The heatwave has brought on the strawberries faster than expected, with many growers seeing production about 10% to 15% higher than normal. We're very happy to help out our British growers."