Frozen Assets

A look at the global frozen potato market

Published online: May 06, 2019 Articles
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This article appears in the May 2019 issue of Potato Grower.

Global frozen potato consumption stood at $106 billion in 2017, an increase of 6 percent against the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenue of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price). From 2007 to 2017, a relatively stable trend pattern was noted with significant fluctuations only in certain years. Over the period from 2016 to 2017, the market experienced healthy growth after a period of notable decline—13.5 percent—in the previous year. In physical terms, global frozen potato consumption grew consistently over the last four years, reaching its highest level of 117 metric tons in 2017 (IndexBox estimate). Over the last 10 years, the frozen potato market saw mild fluctuations.

Frozen potatoes, and especially french fries, constitute a product largely consumed in the foodservice sector, with quick service restaurant chains (QSRs) and casual dining restaurant chains being the largest consumers of the product. Therefore, the expansion of fast food chains, combined with a rising population and urbanization, will remain the key factors buoying market growth.

India, China Remain Largest Markets

According to IndexBox, China (37 percent), followed by India (31 percent), the U.S. (13 percent) and Pakistan (5 percent) appeared as the largest frozen potato markets in the world in 2017, based on physical terms quantity. In addition, most of these countries were also the leading producers of frozen potatoes in the world.

Amongst these countries, India (+1.4 percent) recorded the highest annual rates of growth in terms of frozen potato consumption over the period under review, while the other consumers experienced more modest paces of growth.

China (about 66 pounds per person) and India (60 pounds per person) constitute the largest frozen potato markets. However, in these countries, per-capita consumption remained relatively lower than in the U.S. (106 pounds per person).

Global Frozen Market to See Measured Growth

In Western countries, the U.S. in particular, frozen potatoes are a well-established product widely popular throughout QSR chains and elsewhere. Since the market is already saturated, there are no prerequisites for any sharp market growth. Moreover, the growth of consumption in developed countries may be hampered by increased consumer concern about fat intake and healthy eating. Therefore, the population and income growth will remain the major impetus for market stability. Similar trends are also viable for European countries and Japan.

On the other hand, the market situation is quite different in rapidly developing Asian countries, where consuming habits are changing dramatically. Per-capita consumption of frozen potatoes in Asia remains tangibly lower than in the U.S., Europe and Japan, where they are a well-known product. This indicates a weak saturation of the market and a simultaneous robust potential for growth. As a result of the rapid urbanization process and the increasing popularity of Western-style cuisine and fast food in Asia, global and local QSRs—the most important retail marketers of frozen potato products—are growing much more rapidly than they do in Western countries. Therefore, China and India will continue to drive of the growth of the global market, given their large and growing populations and increasing consumer incomes.

Driven by increasing demand for frozen potatoes worldwide, the market is expected to continue an upward consumption trend over the next eight years. Market performance is forecast to retain its current trend pattern, expanding with an anticipated compound annual growth rate of +1.0 percent for the eight-year period from 2017 to 2025, which is projected to bring the market volume to 127 million metric tons by the end of 2025.

Market research publisher IndexBox recently published a report titled “World Frozen Potatoes: Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights.” The full report can be read at