The global french fry trade grew 12.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same period a year earlier, according to the North American Potato Market News (NAPMN). It reports major exporters shipped 1.46 billion pounds of french fries and other frozen potato products to countries outside of their local trade zones during the January-March quarter. That’s a 160 million pound increase from the first quarter of 2014.
The NAPMN says European Union exporters captured 93.3 per cent of this growth, and that the EU’s share of the global french fry market has expanded from 21.8 per cent during the first quarter of 2002 to 51.8 per cent during the most recent quarter. Belgium has seen the largest growth, while the Netherlands, France, Germany and Poland have all also seen significant growth in export sales to countries outside the EU during the past 15 years, the NAPMN says.
French fry shipments from the United States, Argentina and New Zealand all fell short of year-earlier sales, the NAPMN says. The U.S. decline was offset by a 44.7 per cent increase in Canadian offshore exports. By shifting more of their business to Canada, North American fryers boosted offshore sales by five per cent in the first quarter of 2015.
The NAPMN notes this year’s shift in french fry offshore business from the U.S. to Canada is driven by two factors: the West Coast labour dispute, which prompted fryers to cover more of their customers’ needs from Canada; the declining value of the Canadian dollar, which makes it more economical to produce french fries in Canada. (Source: NAPMN)