Signs are showing that frozen fry demand is improving quicker than the industry had anticipated, according to a May 27 report by North American Potato Market News (NAPMN), reads the following news item published by Produce Processing.
The lack of foodservice demand due to COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions has created a well-documented backup in the potato supply chain. Despite being reduced to drive-thru only in many areas, Wendy’s sales were down just 2.1%, year-over-year, the week ending May 2.
In addition, fry processors moved 112.8 million pounds of freezer stocks during April, which was the largest movement during the month since 1993, NAPMN reported.
That may be related to production downtime, however. For example, a Lamb Weston plant in Washington closed temporarily last month due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19. McCain also has confirmed layoffs at Canadian facilities.
Restaurant chain sales in the U.S. improved five consecutive weeks from early April to mid-May, although were still down 21%, year-over-year in the week ending May 17.