New McDonald’s french-fry video stars Idaho potato farmer, a Simplot supplier

McDonald’s chefs Jessica Foust and Dan Coudreaut toured Noble Farms in Glenns Ferry.In 1967, Idaho potato magnate J.R. Simplot shook hands with McDonald’s CEO Ray Kroc, sealing a deal that made Simplot the first frozen french-fry supplier to the fast-food chain. That deal brought billions of dollars to the Idaho economy. Until then, McDonald’s had purchased only fresh potatoes. The J.R. Simplot Co. had supplied about 20 percent of the spuds that became McDonald’s fries. By convincing Kroc that frozen fries would deliver consistency and overcome a shortage of Russet Burbank potatoes in the summer, Simplot instantly became McDonald’s largest spud supplier. A McDonald’s marketing video released Nov. 11 offers a glimpse into the Boise company’s role without mentioning Simplot. The video features a Glenns Ferry potato farmer, Mark Noble, discussing potatoes with two McDonald’s chefs. Noble sells those potatoes to Simplot for processing into frozen fries. Since the legendary handshake, Simplot has diversified and grown into an international agribusiness that grossed $5.8 billion in sales last year. McDonald’s remains its largest customer. More