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Lamb Weston wants to keep French fries crispy for 60 min

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2018-07-11  Views: 23
Core Tip: The perfect French fry is crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The French fry that has been delivered to your home is often the opposite: cold, soggy and limp.
The perfect French fry is crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The French fry that has been delivered to your home is often the opposite: cold, soggy and limp. Lamb Weston, the country’s biggest manufacturer of those potato delicacies, wants better fast food.

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.

Lamb Weston’s business is all about potatoes. Last year, it sold more than $3.1 billion in tater tots, hash browns and fries of all types. One of Lamb Weston’s 13 French fry factories, in Richland, Washington, produces a million pounds of potato products a day. A burst of steam peels the potatoes, and then they’re shot at 75 miles per hour through metal blades that cut them into steak, wedge or straight shapes. In less than six hours, a potato can be plucked from the ground, turned into fries and packaged in a box.

Lamb Weston started testing a longer-lasting fry two years ago. Since then, delivery services in the United States have taken off, accounting for an increasing share of restaurants’ sales. McDonald’s has expanded its offerings for delivery, as have Wendy’s, Popeye’s and other fast food chains.

Jeremy Scott, a research analyst with Mizuho Securities, estimated that sales for third-party delivery services like UberEats and GrubHub reached nearly $8 billion in the United States in 2017, and have been growing at least 40 percent annually for the past three years.

According to cnbc.com, 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.

For better insights, an eight-person team spent several days in New York, riding along with delivery drivers. One researcher became an UberEats driver on evenings and weekends.

They noticed that drivers sometimes placed hot items next to cold items, to the detriment of both. Drivers often work for more than one delivery service, which could add stops and slow an order’s travel. Lots of other unexpected mishaps, like street closures, car accidents or bad GPS guidance, can cost crucial minutes.


 
 
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