July 13, 2021
On July 13, Americans celebrate one of the nation’s most storied side dishes by observing National French Fry Day. Though several countries boast of having discovered the wonders of sliced, seasoned fried potatoes, Americans top the leaderboard when it comes to consuming the savory, crunchy dish. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans ate 49.4 pounds of potatoes in 2019, most of which were consumed as French fries.
Whether you call them French fries, fries, or cross the Atlantic for chips or frites, here are some of the leading providers of one of our favorite salty snacks.
McDonald’s Corp. (Tii:MCD) fries are famously addictive, and Americans eat lots of them. Estimates cite 7% of potatoes grown in the USA end up in a McDonald’s fryer. The leading provider of French fries is even looking to rebrand July 13 as World Famous Fan Day. This new event, which celebrates the fast-food giant’s 66th anniversary, includes a chance for a lucky MyMcDonald’s Rewards member to win free fries for life. McDonald’s and fast-food rival The Wendy’s Company (Tii:WEN) also offer free fries with purchases on July 13 for consumers using their mobile apps.
As the company that lays claim to inventing the tater tot, Ore-Ida is, unsurprisingly, a leading producer of frozen fries. Consumers who prefer the heat-and-serve approach to enjoy their fries can choose between waffle fries, fast-food-style, crinkle cut, shoestring, steak fries and more. Founded in 1952 as a producer of frozen corn and French fries, Ore-Ida went public in 1961, trading for only four years before H. J. Heinz Company bought the business in 1965. It is now part of Kraft Heinz Company (Tii:KHC), the world’s fifth-largest food company.
The largest producer and processor of frozen fries in America and a major supplier to restaurants and retailers globally, Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc. (Tii:LW) is responsible for 80 million portions of fries sold every day worldwide. The company even uses potatoes in its packaging process. Last year, Lamb Weston announced that certain products would use packaging partially made of potato starches, a byproduct of producing French fries. Eying global expansion, Lamb Weston is constructing a new French fry processing facility in Ulanqab, Inner Mongolia, China, with the capacity to produce more than 250 million pounds of frozen French fries and other potato products annually.
It’s true. Taco Bell sells fries – sometimes. The Yum! Brands, Inc. (Tii:YUM) Mexican-inspired fast-food subsidiary generated social media buzz when it introduced the crisp, boldly seasoned fries served with warm nacho cheese sauce. Though not a permanent menu item, the restaurant chain offers the snack at select times of the year (such as prior National French Fry Days). To blur the lines further between nachos and the traditional French fry, Taco Bell created Nacho Fries Supreme, in which the fries are loaded with seasoned beef, diced tomatoes, sour cream and nacho cheese sauce.
French fries are arguably the best way to consume potatoes. And while not invented in the USA, it’s nonetheless a part of American history. The origins of the snack in the USA can be traced back to President Thomas Jefferson, who fell in love with French fries while working as American Minister to France. So, have a fry or a few in honor of one of our nation’s Founding Fathers – and to observe National French Fry Day.
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