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Signs of some recovery in global restaurant fry demand

Major potato processor Lamb Weston and global quick service restaurant chain McDonald’s saw sales fall significantly in the three months to the end of June, but it could have been much worse. There are also some signs of a recovery in restaurant fry sales, although fears over coronavirus remain, according to Cedric Porter, editor of weekly market briefing World Potato Markets.

Lamb Weston’s sales were 16% lower in the quarter than the same period last year, with demand from foodservice distributors and smaller restaurant the most affected. Larger restaurant chains were less impacted as they switched sales to drive-thrus, takeaways and deliveries. Sales to supermarkets and other shops jumped by 56% as people ate more food at home.

Demand for fries in US restaurants is now around 85% of pre-Covid levels, with European demand at 80%. Sales of retail products are still 5% to 10% higher than before the arrival of the virus.

McDoanld’s saw its sales drop by 30% in the three months to the end of June. Globally 96% of the chain’s restaurants are now open – 99% in the US and 94% elsewhere, but demand is only back to 90% of pre-Covid levels.

Figures from Google show that there was a rise in visits to restaurants and other recreational destinations in the week to July 21 but there are still concerns over the number of virus cases in the US, South America and over a resurgence of incidences in some European countries. New lockdowns could have a big effect on restaurant demand.

Cedric Porter is the editor of weekly market briefing World Potato Markets – He and his wife Anna Lambert are the hosts of the PlanetPotato podcast. Listen to it here: and follow it on Twitter via @PlanetPotatoPod

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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