Consumers/Consumption

New fries with enough crisp to survive a delivery ride

Home-delivered fast food is a booming global business, but when it comes to French fries, there’s a hitch. 

They often get soggy on the ride. So now, top fry-makers are racing to perfect a crispy fry that can survive a 15-minute ride with a food delivery service. Companies right here in the Northwest are frying up a crisp solution to this soggy situation.

To truly get the facts on delivered French fries, I ordered some.

My dog, Poa, starts barking when Uber Eats driver Crystal Begallia comes to my door. And I asked her if she stresses over delivering cold and limp fries to her customers. “I get kind of worried,” Begallia said. “Especially if I pick up food from one of the bigger restaurants, and they are spending quite a bit of money. Hopefully it’s still hot when I get to you.”

One reason fries can lose their crunch is because they’re often delivered in closed containers. 

“Because you’re sealing them in like a sauna,” said Deb Dihel, head of innovation for large potato processing firm, Lamb Weston.  “And they just get soggy really quickly. So, it’s like the worst case scenario for a French fry.” 

Lamb Weston is based in Eagle, Idaho — that state famous for its potatoes — but has major processing plants and an innovation center in Washington’s Tri-Cities area. 

Dihel first saw what happened to delivery fries when she was in China five years ago. Restaurants there were putting hot fries into large clamshell containers and then into closed boxes for delivery.

“I was like no, no, no! Don’t do that!” she said.  “At least leave it open, like at least let the steam vent and not make the product soggy.”

Dihel said that once out of the oil, most fries can only stay crisp for 12 minutes max. So, when she came home, she set about trying to fix the problem. The first part of the solution: changing how fries are made. 

To show off several years of work, she opened a bag of frozen fries, right from the factory. She put them in a wire basket and lowered them into hot bubbly oil in Lamb Weston’s Richland test kitchen. They’d been dipped in a special starchy batter. Its exact ingredients are a trade-secret — but it’s got potato starch and rice flour to keep fries crisp. When the fries came out they had a lot of crunch. 

They were still crunchy 30 minutes later,  even at room temperature. 

Source: NW Newsnetwork