Evolution of Indian Frozen French Fry Industry: Industrial Constraints, Challenges and Future Prospects


Frozen food industry is gaining momentum in the developing world. Rapid urbanisation and the expansion of the fast food industry have greatly contributed to the significant expansion of India's potato processing sector, particularly in relation to the popular and fast-selling food item, French fries. Despite being the world's second-largest producer of potatoes, India processes only a small fraction, approximately 0.6%, of its total potato production into frozen French fries. In contrast, industrialised countries typically process over 80% of their potato harvest into frozen French fries. Current consumption patterns and preferences indicate that there is significant potential for further expansion in the Indian frozen French fry industry. According to an analysis of the Indian Agri-processing industry, the future demand for processing potatoes is projected to be highest for French fries, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.6% followed by dehydrated potato flakes (7.6% CAGR) and potato crisps (4.5% CAGR). Factors limiting industry expansion mainly include technical challenges (availability of poor quality seed; limited genetic base for the development of new varieties; prevalent diseases like late blight) and natural resource constraints (declining water tables associated with unpredictable and reduced rainfall). The primary issue facing the industry is consistent and assured supply of high-quality raw materials. This review describes the scenario of the Indian potato processing industry, developments in the frozen French fry industry in terms of market trends, new cultivars and technology. It also tackles concerns and highlights areas for enhancing and establishing a sustainable processing industry.