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Europe's small potatoes a problem for McDonald's fries

Europe's small potatoes a problem for McDonald's

This year, your fries at McDonald's will not look like this (left) in Europe. As a result of the hot and dry weather, potatoes are in short supply and are smaller in size. This is true also for the potato variety Innovator (right), so fries will be shorter (Not to scale).

September 30, 2018
As a result of the hot and dry weather in large parts of Northern Europe this year, potatoes are smaller than usual.

This is especially an issue for potatoes destined for the production of french fries, because smaller potatoes means shorter fries. This requires many fast-food chains to adjust their restaurant practices.

Eunice Koekkoek of McDonald’s Netherlands:

“When the fries don’t meet our specifications, it affects the special tools in our restaurant kitchens that measure, position and fry our fries.”

“The equipment has been carefully adjusted to the specifications we pass on to our suppliers.”

“Because of the shorter fries, we have to readjust our equipment.”
Given the fact that all the major potato growing regions are affected and potatoes intended for McDonald's fries are typically grown on contracts, McDonald’s has in Europe really no other choice than to use these smaller potatoes for their French fries.

McDonald's:

“Our guests won’t be used to our shorter fries, but we can’t do anything about this.”

“It doesn’t mean our portions will consist of fewer grammes, length will just be different.”

“We informed our workers in our restaurants about this, and when guests have questions about our products, they’ll be answered on our social media channels.”

French Fry manufacturers

Eunice Koekkoek:

“Besides the quality of our products, the relationship with our suppliers is also important.”

“This extreme situation is discussed with them as well. The suppliers talk about it with their growers.”

“We understand the dry weather had consequences for the entire potato production, and that this has resulted in an operational challenge.”

Potato variety Innovator

In the Netherlands, Lamb Weston/Meijer supplies the fries to McDonald’s.

The potato variety used for the French fries is Innovator.

A third of the potatoes that are processed comes from the Netherlands, while 40 per cent comes from Belgium and 10 per cent comes from France and Germany.
Companies in this Article
Lamb Weston / Meijer is one of the larger manufacturer of French Fries and Potato specialties in Europe, with 4 production facilities in the Netherlands (Kruiningen, Oosterbierum, Bergen op Zoom as well as the former Oerlemans production site in Broekhuizenvorst) and one in Wisbech in the UK (previous Garden Isle plant) and one in Austria (Frisch und Frost).
McDonald's is the leading global foodservice retailer with more than 34,000 local restaurants serving nearly 69 million people in more than 118 countries each day.