For the past 200 years, Ireland has been a leading producer and distributer of potatoes. The majority of the exports of potatoes go to American soil leaving other countries lacking in this high carb vegetable. What’s more is that, according to an article by nutritionists Jane Allshouse and Linda Scott Kantor, “French fries account for 29% of the US potato crop” (hence why America is the most obese nation on Earth!) As a result, the Chinese organization McCain Foods is investing $200 million for constriction of a French Fry and potato plant and production facility.
“Our investment builds on our 25 year presence on Chinese soil”, says the McCain Foods company. “We aim to meet the growing demand for potato products in this country.” Part of the reason that the demand for potatoes and French fries has been so high is because countries such as Ireland have been nervous to deliver to Asian countries due to the spread of COVID-19 (yet they have no problem delivering to America). This factory will provide relatively new features for China such as increased capacity and specialized production capabilities. This increases productivity as the factory can distribute many different forms of potatoes such as French fries, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, etc.
This facility will be constructed in Yangling Agriculture Hi Tech Development Zone in Shaanxi Province. This not only enables the company to gain quick access to potato farms but it also grants a partnership with another local potato processing facility in the Heilongjiang Province. Together, the McCain Foods company will will expand local production network throughout China.
Other reasons behind the creation of the factory include the lack of diversity of the potato crop in China as it is used solely in stew. Interest for the potato in China was relatively low until 2015 when the Chinese government stated they “launched a plan to make the potato the nation’s fifth staple food after rice, wheat, soy beans, and maize.” Following this plan, the Chinese potato output has increased from 45m Metric Tons to almost 100m Metric Tons! Despite the increase in demand, it has minimally affected potato production around the world. Still, McCain Foods hopes to distribute potatoes quicker throughout China now that the government has sparked interest in the crop again.
Today, McCain Foods is a supplier of frozen potato products for Asian and Western countries alike. It operates in 160 countries around the world with about 50 manufacturing facilities in local markets. The subsidiary employs over 400 people every year to manufacture and distribute the potato products to their respective markets. Their future plans for investment, according to company, include “spending $60 million to expand its potato facility in Canada and $100 million to expand its first French Fry Factory in Brazil.”
With now easier access to potatoes and French fries, interest for these food items has skyrocketed. More fast food restaurants are being built and there are even Chinese Internet websites teaching people how to prepare French fries from raw potatoes. As such, the possibilities are endless, but marketing is difficult to enter due to the increased demand. Still, Asian countries as well as other neighboring areas are pleased at the diversity and enjoyment consumers have taken upon potatoes. The Chinese government hopes that, even in these struggling circumstances, the economy will still improve due to the purchase of this Irish crop.