Chips, also known as French Fries in the US are a very popular meal in Kenya and just recently fast-food franchise KFC announced a shortage of potatoes used to make french fries.
Kenyan potato expert explains which ones make most delicious chips [Video]
This will help you when shopping for potatoes or chosing your favourite restaurant.
This quickly developed into a debate on why the company had for many years imported frozen potatoes instead of procuring them from local farmers.
Some of the reasons included laws governing the procurement of KFC raw material to the quality of the potatoes required to make chips.
Many Kenyans are consumers of fries, be it from the franchise, other restaurants, street vendors or home-cooked but the majority would not be able to tell what variety of potatoes produces the best snack.
According to Corien Herweijer, a Business Development Manager at Agrico East Africa any product of potatoes, from Mukimo to crisps and chips, is only as good as its seed.
The company specializes in the production of certified potato seed, targeting Kenyan farmers to grow the potato varieties that are in demand by the market.
“The best potato variety for fries is called Markies. It has many features which make it a favourite for fast-food businesses globally. The oval shape allows for many potato strips to be cut, it has high dry matter content, absorbs less fat and shallow eye,” she explained.
Potato expert explains in the video below
Processors, hotels and restaurants highly value the variety for its frying characteristics and taste. Its low sugar level remains for a long time enabling excellent cooking quality.
Agrico is Kenya’s largest potato farm and is also educating farmers on how to grow different seeds for different markets and use.
KFC’s plan to start procuring potatoes from local farmers now offers Kenyan farmers an opportunity to plug into the multi-million value chain.
Other than the seed, another important aspect of global food practises is tracebilty of raw materials.
It means that the hotel can trace the food to its source. Quality assurance procedures should be able to trace every produce down to the farmer who produced it.
It might not seem like a big deal, but it is central to global food supply chain. If you get diarrhoea after eating a particular product it can be traced to which batch made you sick, and taken off the shelf.
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