New Zealanders take a closer look at ‘the good oil on fish and chips’

Seafood Bazaar manager Petrina Taua-Hunt says the Hamilton business prides itself on serving top quality fish and chips.While other countries regulate fryer fat use, experts in New Zealand say degraded oils at its favourite chippies is concerning. The key to producing good fish and chips is to use top-quality oil, filter the frying vats each day, regularly change the oil, and cook oils at the right temperature. But industry experts say not all fast food operators are making the health grade, and neighbourhood chippies are some of the worst offenders. Chemist Dr Laurence Eyres, a specialist in oils and fats, says the prevalence of fast food outlets using old degraded oils is concerning. “How often have you been in a fish and chip shop and it makes your eyes water because they are using the cooking fat well past its shelf life? It’s these oils that can have high levels of nasty compounds and which can be bad for you.”  Continue reading

The drought issue: Tension developing between Dutch potato farmers and french fry processors

Dutch potato growers and potato processing companies will start talks on Friday to determine who is to pay for the problems with this year’s harvest due to the consequences of the drought, Dutch broadcaster NOS (Nederlandse Omroep Stichting) reports. Farmers want processors to share in the cost of irrigation. Some 80% of the Dutch potato crop is sold under contract to potato processors, in particular the french fry processors who, on their part, contract with big fast food chains such as MacDonalds and KFC. Contracts are not in the favour of farmers this year, though.  Continue reading

50 years on, McDonald’s and fast-food evolve around Big Mac

Image result for big mac friesMcDonald’s is fighting to hold onto customers as the Big Mac turns 50, but it isn’t changing the makings of its most famous burger. The company is celebrating the 1968 national launch of the double-decker sandwich. But the milestone comes as the company reduces its number of U.S. stores. McDonald’s said Thursday that customers are visiting less often. Other trendy burger options are reaching into the heartland. The “Golden Arches” still have a massive global reach, and the McDonald’s brand of cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets and french fries remains recognizable around the world. But on its critical home turf, the company is toiling to stay relevant. Kale now appears in salads, fresh has replaced frozen beef patties in Quarter Pounders, and some stores now offer ordering kiosks, food delivery and barista-style cafes. The milestone for the Big Mac shows how much McDonald’s and the rest of fast-food have evolved around it. Read more

Sobering thought: This Fryday, embrace the crinkle cut, the french fry ideal!

Image result for crinkle cut friesBaptized in oil, anointed with salt, the fry stands alone. Of all the culinary wonders and the many connections made in our lives by food, fries are the threads that bind the steak frites of Paris bistros and the rural American roadside dive. The humble potato, pulled from the earth and living at the very center of our deep fried hearts. National Fry Day is July 13 this year in a mystical aligning of planets or french fries, falling on a Friday. Literally Fryday. For the blessings of hand-cut, shoestring, big ole steak fries and curly, for all the good done by duck fat and the endless charm of cousin tater tot, there is but one french fry ideal. Excuse me, frydeal. That is the crinkle cut, the jagged, unapologeticly-frozen-yet-redeemed-by-hot-oil pinnacle of crunch, starch and salt. Those ridges and valleys, all those pointy ends all add up to the pound for point most perfect fry… Read further

On this National French Fry Day, ORE-IDA introduces Potato Pay, the future of mealtime bribery

Image result for This National French Fry Day, ORE-IDA Introduces Potato Pay, the Future of Mealtime BriberyToday is National French Fry Day in the US. In a press release issued earlier today, potato processor ORE-IDA says the company knows it’s at times hard to get kids to eat their dinner. Mealtime serves up tantrums and tears regularly. It usually takes some sort of bribe or game to get them to eat that one piece of broccoli, the company says. So, why change a method that we all know already works, when it can simply be renamed? Meet Potato Pay, a new and easy way to get your children to eat their dinner. Each fry is a piece of crispy golden currency designed to be the most satisfying bribery tool possible. Just pay your child with the ORE-IDA fries they love to eat, in return for bites of the foods that they don’t. For example, one bite of chicken = one fry, a mushroom = three fries and a spoonful of quinoa = five fries. Refer to the easy-to-use mealtime bribery chart, or “Frynancial Guide,” to see the fry value of various food items. Ore-Ida says the idea for Potato Pay is simple yet powerful —mealtime can be a real struggle for parents… Full press release

Taco Bell wants to ‘Make Potato Great’ again in India

Image result for Crispy PotacoAloo Jeera, Aloo Gobhi, Aloo Matar, Aloo Palak, Aloo Methi; these are just some of the more typical items you’ll find on most Indian menus. Boiled, mashed, baked, blanched, fried et al, the humble potato, a staple for many, can be served up in so many (many) forms and thus, caters to a wide variety of taste buds. But what does it have to do with Taco Bell? Well, the American fast-food brand has decided to decode Indian’s insatiable love affair with the mighty potato with the introduction of an all-new ‘Crispy Potaco‘ to their menu and the aim to #MakePotatoGreat. Through this digital-only campaign, conceptualised by Ogilvy and seemingly aimed at millennials, Tanmay Bhat, comedian and social influencer, is seen in the video pitching the product or rather, the potato, to investors. India as a region continues to be a key growth focus for Taco Bell globally and the brand believes it can be one of their biggest markets outside of the US, in the near future. Read more

Belgian potato processor says it responds to consumer demands

Image result for lutosaIn an interview with Dan Orehov or Potato Processing International magazine, the  marketing director of Lutosa, Françoise Saint-Ghislain, discussed trends and innovation in processed potato products. Orehov asked her how she views the current market trends concerning processed potatoes, including french fries, and in particular what consumers prefer. “We noticed a rise in our customer’s demand for organic-based products,” Saint-Ghislain said. “Therefore, we have been expanding our existing range of frozen fries (Straight Cut and Pom’Steak), wedges, mashed potatoes, and potato flakes (for instant mash), by introducing frozen dices. The organic range targets the industry, the food service and retail markets.” Saint-Ghislain also said that gluten-free is a trend where Lutosa can easily play a role as all its fries and cut products (wedges, slices, dices…) are 100% gluten-free. “Staying in is the new going out!,” Saint-Ghislain said. People are gathering more and more at home, ordering food online. Read more

Mushy no more: Lamb Weston’s solution for the ‘soggy fry’ unveiled

Image result for soggy french friesA french fry gets soggy in 5 minutes. Lamb Weston wants to keep it crispy for 60. Its customers, like McDonald’s and Yum Brands, the owner of KFC, are increasingly teaming up with on-demand delivery services. But travel is brutal for French fries, especially when they’re squeezed next to a cold drink and a warm burger in a paper bag. The company’s basic French fries will stay crunchy for about five minutes. It has recently introduced a new variety with a special batter that can keep crispy for close to an hour — even after being microwaved at home. Lamb Weston believes the meal delivery trend in China will go global, and wants to be ready. Lamb Weston had already developed a French fry batter that could keep fries crispy for 12 minutes. So food scientists at the company’s laboratory in Richland began tinkering with the recipe to extend a fry’s life even longer. Read more

Lamb Weston stock gains on demand for fries, new product innovation

Image result for taco bell's nacho friesNo matter how you slice, mash or fry it, Lamb Weston Holdings has been on a tear since going public a year and a half ago. The Eagle, Idaho-based company has become a top supplier of frozen potato, sweet potato, appetizer and vegetable products to restaurants and retailers worldwide. By finding new ways to get spuds to the public in new forms, its stock keeps trending higher. Take last quarter, when the company got a sales boost via Taco Bell’s Nacho Fries. Yum Brands, the fast-food chain’s parent company, called the spicy potato fries the most popular debut in Taco Bell’s history. Lamb Weston Chief Executive Tom Werner says the company has benefited from strong demand and new product innovation. “As our strong third quarter and year-to-date results show, our commercial and supply chain teams are executing well and the operating environment continues to be favorable,” Werner said on a recent earnings call with analysts. Read more

Pick-a-choose your Big Mac: Burger and fry chain to add more customer choice and variety

Love the sauce? Wait for it ...As McDonald’s seeks to modernize its business, the company is placing a big bet on mobile and other tech platforms, including mobile phones. McDonald’s has been systematically adding self-service ordering kiosks and table service to stores as it works to “build a better McDonald’s.” “What we’re finding is when people dwell more, they select more,” CEO Steve Easterbrook told CNBC on “Squawk on the Street” on Monday. In fact, the company plans to upgrade 1,000 stores with this technology every quarter for the next eight to nine quarters. International markets like Canada, Australia and the U.K. are already fully integrated with kiosk service and mobile ordering. “We’re introducing many options,” Esterbrook said. “Customers can order through mobile, they can come curbside and we’ll run it out as well as the existing traditional ways. You can pay in different ways and customize your food in different ways. I think we’re trying to add more choice and variety.” Read the full report on CNBC

McDonald’s Russia turns to local fries from new processing plant, citing Western sanction woes

Related imageFrench fries at McDonald’s restaurants from Moscow to Murmansk will be Russian from now on, as the American fast-food chain turns to homegrown potatoes to deal with ruble volatility caused by fluctuating oil prices and Western sanctions. McDonald’s Corp, which opened in Russia in 1990 as the Soviet Union collapsed, has been gradually turning to local ingredients in its Russian outlets for everything from Big Macs to chicken burgers since it opened its doors there. But till now it had relied on frozen French fries from the Netherlands and Poland as Russian spuds weren’t quite right. Now a new plant near Lipetsk, a city 450 km (280 miles) south of Moscow, using potatoes grown on local farms will supply frozen fries to the chain of 651 outlets across Russia under a long-term contract, raising the share of the chain’s locally sourced products to 98 per cent. Globe and Mail report. Reuters report

McDonald’s becomes first restaurant company to set science based target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Image result for mcdonaldsMcDonald’s announces it will partner with franchisees and suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to McDonald’s restaurants and offices by 36% by 2030 from a 2015 base year in a new strategy to address global climate change. Additionally, McDonald’s commits to a 31% reduction in emissions intensity (per metric ton of food and packaging) across its supply chain by 2030 from 2015 levels. This combined target has been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Through these actions, McDonald’s expects to prevent 150 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the atmosphere by 2030. This is the equivalent of taking 32 million passenger cars off the road for an entire year or planting 3.8 billion trees and growing them for 10 years. The target will enable McDonald’s to grow as a business without growing its emissions. More

‘I will pay a premium for Irish potatoes,’ says fast-food mogul

‘I will pay a premium for Irish potatoes’ – Pat ‘Supermac’ McDonaghSupermac’s supremo Pat McDonagh says the time has come to put Irish potatoes back on the map. Despite the iconic role the potato crop has played in Irish history, domestic potato production has decreased from 332,000ha in 1850; to just over 9,000ha today. Each year Ireland imports an estimated 50,000t of potatoes; with businessman McDonagh using up approximately 50t on a weekly basis to supply his multi-million euro empire of fast-food restaurants which includes: Supermac’s; Papa John’s Pizza; SuperSubs and Macs Place Diners. Although McDonagh sources all fresh potatoes for his franchises from suppliers nationwide, currently this weekly domestic supply is in the region of just 10t per week. However, just like his meat supply which is 100% Irish sourced, McDonagh is eager to expand his domestic potato supply. Speaking to AgriLand, he also revealed plans to develop a domestically-based fresh chips ventureMore

MacFry Potato Academy opens its doors to spud growers

Image result for mcdonalds potatoesAccording to a news report published by Farmers Guardian in the UK, potato growers supplying McDonald’s are set to benefit from the provision of free agronomy skills training to improve crop performance and quality with the launch of the MacFry Potato Academy. The Academy is a joint initiative between NIAB and McDonald’s UK and Ireland, in association with potato suppliers McCain Foods and Lamb Weston. MacFry Potato Academy is said to be a key component in ensuring a vibrant and sustainable potato industry that can secure a growing volume of great quality ingredients, according to McDonalds. McDonald’s UK agriculture manager, Peter Garbutt, said the MacFry Academy “is part of our commitment to helping UK potato farmers to run thriving businesses and continue to supply high quality potatoes that make perfect MacFries for our restaurants.” Report by Farmers Guardian

Nando’s and McDonald’s admit using McCain frozen chips from Scotland

HeraldScotland: Teen Taste with Alister Henderson @ Nando's, George Street, OxfordNando’s  and McDonald’s has admitted using McCain frozen chips from Scotland in its restaurants. Talk of the fries Nando’s use began when an ex-employee told a local newspaper that not all Nando’s food is fresh. Now the chain has confirmed they use McCain frozen chips claims but insists the chips are not the kind you would cook at home. “Our hugely popular chips are developed in partnership with McCain Food Services and the specific recipe is exclusive to Nando’s,” Nando’s spokesman has said. “They aren’t the same as their grocery products such as oven chips,” they said. A McDonald’s spokesman confirmed they are used in their branches too. “We work with two suppliers to make our world famous fries, McCain and Lamb Weston – partnering with them for over 30 years,” said a spokesman. More. And more