Where Do McDonald’s Potatoes Come From? [Suppliers + Areas]

Did you know that French fries are not only McDonald’s biggest seller, but they’re also one of the most iconic fast-food menu items ever? If you’re like me and have ever munched on a crispy, golden fry from McDonald’s and wondered where those potatoes come from, I’ve got you covered! Keep reading because I’m about to share all the juicy details.

McDonald’s, Image Credit: McDonald’s

Where Do McDonald’s Potatoes Come From In 2023?

So, in 2023, McDonald’s potatoes are mainly sourced from potato farms across the United States, with a majority of them grown in Washington. However, the chain also gets some of its potatoes from Idaho. The types of potatoes used include Russet Burbank, Russet Ranger, Umatilla Russet, and Shepody. McDonald’s potato suppliers are J.R Simplot, McCain Foods, and Lamb Weston. Can you believe that the fast-food giant goes through a whopping 3.4 billion pounds of potatoes each year?

But wait, there’s more to know about these spuds! If you’re curious about how McDonald’s processes their potatoes, keep on reading because there’s a lot more fascinating information to uncover.

Who is McDonald’s Potato Supplier?

The three main potato suppliers for McDonald’s are J.R. Simplot, McCain, and Lamb Weston. Although McCain Foods is a Canadian company, it has two processing plants located in Idaho. In fact, McCain Foods is McDonald’s largest potato supplier on an international scale.

Lamb Weston is also a significant supplier for McDonald’s and operates two processing plants dedicated to making McDonald’s fries. Together, these three suppliers provide over 70% of the potatoes for McDonald’s across the world.

It’s amazing to think about how these suppliers work together to ensure that McDonald’s can serve up its iconic French fries in restaurants worldwide.

McDonald’s, Image Credit: McDonald’s

Who Are the Potato Farmers for McDonald’s?

McDonald’s relies on a few potato farmers to provide the enormous amount of potatoes needed for its iconic French fries and other menu items. One of these farmers is Frank Martinez, who grows Russet Burbank potatoes in Washington.

Jenn Bunger is another Washington-based farmer who supplies potatoes for McDonald’s, following in her father’s footsteps from several decades ago.

100 Circle Farms, also located in Washington, is a significant supplier of potatoes for McDonald’s. Interestingly, the farmland here is owned by none other than Bill Gates, and it’s even visible from space!

That’s right, Bill Gates is a potato supplier for McDonald’s! Additionally, Noble Farms in Idaho has been growing potatoes for McDonald’s for a long time and was recently sold to J.R. Simplot.

It’s amazing to think about all the different people and companies involved in producing the potatoes that end up in our favorite fast-food meals.

What Kind of Potatoes Does McDonald’s Use?

McDonald’s uses a combination of several potato types to create its delicious French fries. The primary variety used is Russet Burbank, which is grown by potato farmers along with Russet Ranger, Shepody, and Umatilla Russet potatoes.

The use of multiple potato varieties is what gives McDonald’s fries their unique and delicious flavor. It’s fascinating how something as simple as the type of potato used can make such a significant difference in the taste of a fast-food item.

Does McDonald’s Use GMO Potatoes?

McDonald’s has taken a strong stance against using GMO potatoes, including J.R. Simplot’s Innate potato, which was developed in 2014. Despite being approved by the USDA for producing less of the cancer-causing compound that occurs when potatoes are fried and being less prone to bruising, McDonald’s has refused to use the Innate potato or any other GMO potato in its French fries or other menu items.

This shows McDonald’s commitment to providing high-quality and safe food to its customers while respecting their concerns about GMOs. It’s admirable to see a company taking such a strong stance on an issue that is important to so many people.

How Many Potatoes Does McDonald’s Use in a Year?

It’s astounding to learn that McDonald’s uses a whopping 3.4 billion pounds of potatoes every year! This makes McDonald’s the largest purchaser of potatoes globally. To put it into perspective, the fast-food giant goes through around 9 million pounds of fries each day!

It’s incredible to think about the sheer scale of operations required to produce and supply such a massive quantity of potatoes for McDonald’s.

Are McDonald’s Fries Made from Real Potatoes?

Yes, McDonald’s French fries are made from real potatoes! The fast-food chain uses a variety of potato types, including Russet Burbank, Russet Ranger, Umatilla Russet, and Shepody.

Before being turned into fries at processing plants, the potatoes are first cut, peeled, and blanched by McDonald’s suppliers. This ensures that the potatoes are cooked evenly and are ready to be transformed into the iconic French fries that we all know and love.

It’s good to know that McDonald’s fries are made from real potatoes, as many people have concerns about the use of artificial ingredients in fast-food meals.

What Ingredients are In McDonald’s Fries?

In addition to potatoes, several other ingredients are used to make McDonald’s French fries, including vegetable oil, canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, natural beef flavor, salt, hydrolyzed wheat, hydrolyzed milk, dextrose, and sodium acid pyrophosphate.

Interestingly, before 1992, McDonald’s used beef tallow instead of vegetable oil, which was high in fat. Today, the use of natural beef flavor provides the same taste without the added fat.

It’s essential to be aware of the ingredients used in fast-food meals, so you can make informed choices about your diet and health.

McDonald’s, Image Credit: McDonald’s

How Does McDonald’s Cut the Potatoes for French Fries?

McDonald’s doesn’t handle the potato cutting process for its French fries. Instead, it’s done by McCain Foods, one of the processing plant companies that supply McDonald’s with its potatoes.

The potato-cutting machine used by McCain Foods has been described as operating similarly to a woodchipper. It cuts potatoes at a speed of 60 to 70 miles per hour, which is impressive!

To prepare the potatoes for cutting, they’re placed in a long tube along with high-pressure water. This mixture is then shot out of the water knife to cut the potatoes into the desired shape for French fries.

It’s fascinating to learn about the innovative techniques and technology used to produce the world-renowned McDonald’s French fries.

Also Read: How to Complain to Uber Eats About Late Delivery?

Final Words

In conclusion, the production of McDonald’s French fries is a complex process that involves many different people and companies. The potatoes come from farmers in Washington and Idaho who grow a staggering 3.4 billion pounds of potatoes each year to supply McDonald’s worldwide.

Surprisingly, one of the farmers involved in growing potatoes for McDonald’s is none other than Bill Gates, whose farmland can even be seen from space!

Potato processing plants run by McCain Foods, J.R. Simplot, and Lamb Weston handle turning the potatoes into the iconic McDonald’s French fries and hash browns that we all know and love.

To ensure consistency in the shape of the fries, McDonald’s uses a machine similar to a wood chipper that launches each potato into a set of knives at an incredible speed of 60 miles per hour.

It’s also worth noting that McDonald’s uses non-GMO potatoes and has no plans to switch to GMO potatoes, demonstrating the company’s commitment to providing high-quality and safe food to its customers.

Overall, the process of producing McDonald’s French fries is fascinating and involves many different people and steps. It’s remarkable to think about all the work that goes into creating such a beloved fast-food item.