FREDERICTON, New Brunswick — Potatoes bred to make great potato chips were the feature attraction at the annual unveiling of new potato varieties at the federal Potato Research Centre in Fredericton this week.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada estimates potato chips could be a $1.7 billion industry in Canada by the end of 2016.
Cecil Goutpeck of Alberta made his way to Fredericton to see the new varieties of potato the research center is making available for field trials by growers.
"We're always looking for the varieties that can out-yield, [have] low diseases and good chipping qualities," said Goutpeck. "And this Fredericton breeding program fits the bill."
It takes years of breeding to develop potatoes that make better chips. Scientists try to find the right balance of sugars and starches to make them golden and crunchy.
Research scientist Benoit Bizimungu says the new varieties should suit the industry.
"For the grower, the yield is very high, compared to some traditional varieties," said Bizimungu. "And also for the purchasers, the quality is superior to what we have on the market.
"It can be stored for a long time, which allows them to provide some good quality over the whole year."
The new spuds appear to be a hit with potato experts, like Peter Vander Zaag of Ontario, a potato farmer, breeder and scientist.
"Canadians like a cheap snack food," he said. "And there's nothing better than a potato chip with a little bit of non-cholesterol oil and a little bit of salt. Very nutritious.
"Actually, it's healthier than you think. And it gives great pleasure to many people. So the future is there for the chip as a way of eating potatoes."
Source: CBC News