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Global market for French Fries
Potatoes are very versatile and can be processed into a range of products. In fact, in many developed markets, more potatoes are consumed processed than fresh!
The largest potato processing sector (both volume and value) is the frozen french fry industry.
The value of the global market for French Fries is estimated at USD 19 billion in 2016, according to the report “Frozen Finger Chips (Frozen French Fries) Market: Global Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast 2017 - 2022” by the IMARC Group dated February 2017.
The report estimates the growth of the market at a CAGR of 3.8% during 2009-2016.
Largest Manufacturers of French Fries
The top global manufacturers of French fries (in order):
- McCain Foods Limited
- Lamb Weston (including JVs and subsidiaries)
- J.R. Simplot
- Farm Frites International
The Production of Frozen French Fries
French Fries are produced by cutting potatoes (really!) into strips and washing, blanching, drying, frying and freezing them. But not all potatoes are good to make french fries, so let's first look at the type of potatoes. After that, we go into the processing steps in greater detail.
Potatoes Suitable for French Fry production
First of all - because it is so easy to overlook - we want to stress that not all potatoes are suitable for the production of French fries.
Potatoes need to meet specific criteria related to:Factors like variety selection, climate and weather, cultivation and storage practices need to be optimized in order to get the best potatoes for french fries.
- Size: Potatoes need to be large and long oval (oblong)
- Dry Matter Content: Dry matter content of the potatoes needs to be high enough
- Reducing Sugars: Reducing Sugar content needs to be low enough
- Discolouration: Discolouration after cooking (non-enzymatic) as well as enzymatic discolouration should be as ow as possible
- Defects and Diseases: Within acceptable limits, as it causes waste and defects in the product
- Variability: Maybe not the primary quality criterium, but all variability in the potatoes (within tubers, between tubers, year to year) for any of the mentioned aspects makes the potatoes less suitable
The Processing Steps of French Fry ProductionThe section 'Turnkey Line for Frozen French Fries' offers an in depth description of the industrial production process of frozen french fries.
Video: How French Fries are made!
(Click picture to watch video)
Video from the Washington State Potato Commission explaining how french fries are made.