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From A Chain Operator Point Of View, Are There Any Advantages To Storing Potatoes In A Distributor Warehouse At A Warmer Temperature For Better French Fry Applications?

Q:

From a chain operator point of view, are there any advantages to storing potatoes in a distributor warehouse at a warmer (55F) temperature for better French fry applications? I’ve heard this may or may not be so. If so, what are the advantages. Any disadvantages? 

A:

Some food service operators ask their distributors to store potatoes in a warm or ambient area of their warehouse for a set number of days prior to shipping to the operator. While Dr. Potato recommends normal produce cooler storage (Typically about 45 F storage, not too cold or warm), this is an option chosen by some chains. When checking with Noral Olsen, Ph.D. Professor and Potato Specialist at the University of Idaho, she said, “Yes, keeping the potatoes at 55F prior to fresh cut fry will most likely produce a lighter fry color compared to those straight out of 45F. It will depend upon the variety, but it is a good decision if cutting for fresh cut fries and wanting lighter fry color.”

So, If the operator desires this fry result, then that is the advantage to coordinating a warmer storage period with potatoes from their distributor. The disadvantage with choosing to do this, is that warmer-stored potatoes are prone to premature decay and possible early sprouting, which affects yield and shrink.