There’s more to the science of the perfect French Fry than you’d think.
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It’s been almost a month since McDonald’s has stopped selling large-sized French Fries due to a global potato shortage, and Malaysians are getting hungry.
Sure, they did paint the French Fries crosswalk in Bukit Bintang leading to their flagship store, but it’s not something you can eat!
We took the opportunity to ask Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Melati Abdul Hai when we might expect to have our large fries again.
“Well, if you want more fries, you can always buy a second set meal,” she jokes, before explaining the supply chain issue to TRP.
This is a global supply chain challenge, and our logistics partners are working very hard to ensure that we still have a supply of potatoes for our French Fries.Chief Marketing Officer Melati Abdul Hai to TRP
The thing is, McDonald’s uses Russet potatoes from America to make their potato-based products, such as French fries, hash browns, Twister fries, and more.
However, because of the pandemic, shipping capabilities have been reduced as well. From social distancing requirements to less workers on the docks, the American side of the Russet potato export industry has been hit hard.
While the supply chain struggled at its origins, restaurants and consumers worldwide continue to enjoy the potatoes none the wiser. Cargo ships that were already loaded and on the sea continued to deliver potatoes regardless… but now that supply has dried up, too.
Some places felt the effects earlier than others. Some are only feeling it now. But everyone is trying to get a very limited quantity of potatoes, wanting a slice of the ship(ment).Chief Marketing Officer Melati Abdul Hai to TRP
With less workers on the docks and less ships making their international exports, potato supply can’t keep up with the demand. Restaurants and markets globally are reopening to full capacity, but the supply chain has yet to catch up to supply whatever is needed.
McDonald’s isn’t the only chain affected. Even KFC has been out of potato wedges for a while now.
When asked if McDonald’s would consider a local supplier to prevent future supply chain issues, Melati says that Malaysia is not capable of growing Russet potatoes to the specifications required.
Malaysia’s climate is not conducive for growing (Russet) potatoes. We can’t just use any potato to make our French Fries. There’s actually a lot more that goes into the making of McDonald’s French Fries, to make sure that they are the right size and have the right texture to be cooked the right way.Chief Marketing Officer Melati Abdul Hai to TRP
Products like hash browns, served in the mornings, and Twister fries, which were a limited run, are not as ubiquitous as the French Fries, which comes with every meal in every McDonald’s restaurant all over the world.
Hence, while hash browns and Twister fries are still readily available, French Fries will need to rationed carefully to ensure that everyone is still able to enjoy them… in moderation.
It seems like French Fry fans will need to wait a little longer for the potato supply to catch up so we can stuff ourselves with large French fries again.
Anne is an advocate of sustainable living and the circular economy, and has managed to mum-nag the team into using reusable containers to tapau food. She is also a proud parent of 4 cats and 1 rabbit.