Sep 1, 2023
Frozen potato products dominate US market, USDA data shows

A little more than one-third of all U.S.-grown potatoes are manufactured into frozen products, 85% of which are french fries, according to USDA Economic Research Service data.

Processed potato products, which include frozen, chipped, dehydrated, and canned, have become market drivers, spurred by decades of explosive growth in the quick service restaurant industry.

The share of potatoes consumed as frozen products rose from 27% in 1970-74 to 44% in 2015-19, according to agency data.

Research in the early 2000s indicated that QSRs accounted for about two-thirds of french fry usage, with another 6% attributed to school cafeterias.

Typically, about one-tenth of frozen french fries are sold in supermarkets and other retail outlets. The majority move through various food service venues or the export market.

French fry demand slowed as the COVID-19 pandemic hobbled the food service sector, according to the Economic Research Service. Exports of frozen potato products, which account for one-fourth of freezing potato utilization, remain well-below year-earlier levels.

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