I have written before that working together to solve the industry's major problems is the best way to achieve success; the very positive results from the first year of the National Fry Processor Trials (NFPT) strongly support my premise.
The NFPT was organized to create a national variety trial program with the objective of identifying new potato clones that would deliver lower acrylamide levels in cooked potato products. The five major North American frozen potato processors, state potato organizations from the major process growing states and the USPB all provided the funding to implement and manage the project.
Trials were planted in the spring of 2011 at three locations: Washington, Idaho and North Dakota. Each trial site planted the same 79 clones, along with Russet Ranger and Russet Burbank as check varieties. The initial acrylamide tests have recently been conducted, and all the new clones produced lower levels of acrylamide than Russet Burbank, and all but six produced lower levels of acrylamide than Russet Ranger. Most impressive, 15 of the new clones produced 68 percent less acrylamide than Russet Ranger and 78 percent less than Russet Burbank.
These are just the preliminary test results; there will be several more tests performed on the 2011 trial material before final information is complete and available, but
It is clear there are some new genetics in the pipeline that will significantly reduce acrylamide.
What is also very clear is that without the NFPT, this highly important information would not be available to the industry. Processors and universities would have conducted tests on some of the new clones independently, but the industry-wide collaboration through the NFPT has delivered a platform for surfacing the most promising new clones and made the information available to the entire industry.
The value of the NFPT is immeasurable and is a result of the industry working together to solve a major problem. There will be more information available from the NFPT on the 2011 trial results. The 2012 trials will be planted to take the next steps in the process. It is truly exciting to see this level of cooperation and achieve these results.