Monday, August 31, 2009

Would you like some sweet potato fries with that?

Posted by on Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 11:10 AM

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​Fries used to be an afterthought -- the sidekick to hamburgers or hot dogs. And although you're still likely to find a frozen bag of Sysco fries next to the deep-fat fryer in diners and casual-dining restaurants, french fries have become a serious selling point for burger chains. 


Endless french fries slowly coat your arteries at Red Robin, while Chick-fil-A offers waffle cut fries with a healthy sprinkling of salt and pepper. Sonic takes a cue from Napoleon Dynamite and features tater tots (Fat City's promised office hours involving tater tots will be held in September; stay tuned). 


And now Slashfood is suggesting that the latest french fry movement at fast food restaurants will be.... sweet potato fries. Con Agra has decided to build a sweet potato processing plant in order to meet the growing demand from customers, including "the largest quick-service restaurant chains (i.e. fast food restaurants)." 


press release from Con Agra Lamb Weston announced that the food services giant will be building a dedicated sweet potato production plant near Delhi, Louisiana. The plant is expected to open in November 2010. 

The press release also notes that sweet potato consumption has grown 21 percent in the past five years, according to the USDA -- which means the sweet and starchy fries are officially a trend. In Kansas City, they're a surprisingly common menu item -- available at The Brick, Danny Edwards, Blanc Burgers and Bottles and the Peach Tree, among others.  

Fast-food franchises appear to be jumping the shark. As they search for new profit centers or ways to update their menu, they're consistently co-opting food trends (most recently, specialty coffee drinks). Get ready for the organic menu alongside the dollar menu. 

[Image via Flickr: jblyberg]

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