Guaranteed Irish Chips For Your Chipper

23 Sep 2021 | 10.32 am

Guaranteed Irish Chips For Your Chipper

Meadowfresh Foods and O’Shea Farms partner for new facility

23 Sep 2021 | 10.32 am

When you visit the chipper, odds are that the deep-fried spud you’re about to bite into was imported. Now Meadowfresh Foods and O’Shea Farms have joined forces to develop a range of Irish-branded chipping potatoes.

Ireland, despite being famous for potatoes and growing 300,000 tonnes per annum for domestic consumption, imports 80,000 tonnes worth €45m each year, with 64,000 tonnes from the UK. The majority of these fresh potato imports are used by 530 independent chip shops in Ireland.

Over the past two years, Meadowfresh and O’Shea Farms have engaged with Bord Bia, Teagasc and the IFA to support the chipping potato project and proceeded to grow specific crops for the Irish chip shop channel. Bord Bia’s Thinking House has been working with the companies to develop new brands of Irish chipping potatoes.

Minister Pippa Hackett said: “A storage facility which maintains the correct sugar and starch levels in potatoes, as well as keeping them fresh beyond the winter period, is absolutely key to producing the quality that is needed in good chipping potatoes.

“So the development of such a facility, along with the official opening today of Ireland’s first dedicated potato packer and distributor focusing on the exclusive growing of potatoes for chipping, is a real opportunity for Irish growers to supply home-grown potatoes for the Irish chip shop market.”

Bord Bia research has shown that two-thirds of consumers incorrectly assume that the potatoes used to make their chips come from Ireland. And three out of four are likely to support a chipper that fries locally grown potatoes, while 70% would consider it useful to know the country of origin of the potatoes used in their usual chipper through signage or recognised marks. 

The texture of the chips, the reputation of chipper and the appearance of the chips were cited as the most important factors in making great chipper chips.

Bord Bia’s Lorcan Bourke said: “Some chip shop owners have already successfully put a local supply chain relationship in place, demonstrating that Irish growers can grow chipping potatoes of excellent quality. Many of the chip shop owners working with locally grown potatoes saw local supply as a great advantage in their communications with customers.

“I firmly believe it is a win-win situation and would encourage any grower or chip shop owner willing to support the initiative to get in touch or visit our website with a view to establishing new trading relationships.”

Growing chipping  potatoes is a specialist operation, and the market for them is valued at approximately €20m annually. Oh, and it’s National Potato Day on Friday October 1.

More information here for those who’d like their chips to be Guaranteed Irish.

Photo: Minister Pippa Hackett (centre) with representatives of O’Shea Farms and Meadowfresh Foods. (Pic:  Alison Miles/OSM Photo)

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