Simplot-China Making Progress

Published online: Nov 20, 2003
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J.R. Simplot Company's food-processing division has spent many years and a great amount of effort to help the Chinese develop their own fry-processing market and it is succeeding.

Demand in China for french fries has increased so rapidly that substantial quantities of potatoes were needed for processing, according to James R. Munyon, president of the J.R. Simplot food processing division.

Munyon said Chinese farmers who now have access to modern techniques, equipment and processing facilities to be able to produce high-quality potatoes at competitive prices for the growing market.

"The quick-service restaurant sector will remain the fastest growth point of our business in China in the future," Munyon said.

Tied into the growth in KFC and McDonald's being experienced in China, that has long used Chinese produced chicken and beef, they will now have their own potatoes.

Munyon predicts that sales to other restaurants and supermarkets will also increase, along with the changing lifestyles of an increasing number of Chinese people.

"As for quality, I should say, although Idaho is famous for its high-quality potatoes, the potatoes produced in China are just as good," he added.

Cooperation between Simplot and local enterprises and farmers is the best example of a win-win situation in agriculture-related businesses, Munyon said.

"We are happy to cooperate with Simplot," said Zhang Dexing, a farmer from Zhuolu County. "With their help, production of potatoes in our country has increased three times, compared with the past years. The prices the company offers to purchase potatoes is higher than prices in the wet [fresh] market," Zhang said.