A taste of Bundaberg will be served around the country as Sweet Potatoes Australia partners with Edgell to launch their new Sweet Potato Chips (Fries).
Sweet Potatoes Australia CEO Damien Botha said it's a fine art when it comes to perfecting the 10mm crisp Sweet Potato Fries and after almost two years of dedication, and many taste tests along the way, the ultimate crunchy chips were now available commercially.
“It’s very exciting,”
“In the partnership we have created with Simplot Australia as manufacturer of Edgell straight-cut chips, Sweet Potatoes Australia has been working with Simplot for around the last 18 months."
“That partnership was developed through a range of different processes, where we have got to the final product."
“It's now available and heading out to a range of hospitality venues across the country, with home-grown Australian, Bundaberg sweet potatoes, from Sweet Potatoes Australia."
“The teams have worked together really closely to bring what is arguably the first Australian-grown product that is in this format for the country.”
Damien said the new Sweet Potato Chips would open more opportunities for local growers, while providing consumers with locally grown Australian produce.
“It’s really exciting, and what it does is open up a huge range of opportunities and also some great growth potential for the industry in Bundaberg,”
“There’s a lot of that (sweet potato) product which does come from overseas at present."
“We’re really trying to ensure we can put Australian-grown processed sweet potatoes on the plates."
“As we go through the next few years it’s exciting to see where it can go.”
Damien said he hoped to see a 10-20 per cent increase in total domestic production to meet the supply need in the next few years, which was great news for local growers.
“The big thing is Bundaberg currently produced around 85 per cent of the country’s fresh sweet potatoes, but from a processing perspective that is certainly something where the major players haven’t really been involved in to-date,”
“The exciting part is that Simplot have really got behind Australian-grown sweet potatoes and taken that leap of faith to work with us."
“What it means is that there are additional production needs, additional jobs, plus also the ability to have Australian-grown fresh produce that goes into a beautiful straight-cut chip that’s on our plates, in our country.”
Damien said they had also already received global enquiries, and with that increased demand there would be future opportunities for Australian-grown sweet potatoes from Bundaberg, to be served internationally at cafes and restaurants.
“We are very lucky here in Bundaberg, with the ideal climate that means we can grow and harvest sweet potatoes 52 weeks of the year,”
“That's a huge advantage to us as we are one of the only places in the world that can do that."
“Our temperatures across the course of the year are very mild to warm, so it’s the perfect environment for growing a product that we all love.”
Damien Botha from Sweet Potatoes Australia in one of the Bundaberg fields during harvest.
Damien said as sweet potatoes had a higher level of moisture compared to the average white potato, it was harder to perfect the crunch factor when it came to making hot chips, but the new Edgell Sweet Potato Chips were “spectacular” and achieved the ideal result.
“The exciting part about it is that we have always been chasing the sweet potato chips with that real crunch,”
“There's is a fine art to make that, and the magic all happens down in Tasmania, at Simplot headquarters and the team has done a wonderful job working with us.
“We provide the fresh produce and they’ve worked the magic, as we like to call it, down at that end.
“It’s about finding a product that works … getting the health benefits of sweet potatoes, while getting the crunch that we love about our normal white potato chips.”
As a father, Damien said the straight-cut 10mm Sweet Potato Chips were very versatile, great for all the family, and they could be eaten as a side to a delicious burger or steak, or enjoyed as a snack on their own or with tapas.