French fries are not only the biggest seller for McDonald’s, but it’s also one of the most iconic fast-food menu items of all time.
If you’ve eaten a McDonald’s French fry and wondered where do McDonald’s potatoes come from, we’ve got that answer plus a whole lot more below, so keep reading!
Where Do McDonald’s Potatoes Come From?
McDonald’s potatoes come from a few different potato farms within the United States, with most grown in Washington, although some come from Idaho. The fast-food chain uses Russet Burbank, Russet Ranger, Umatilla Russet, and Shepody potatoes. McDonald’s potato suppliers include J.R. Simplot, McCain Foods, and Lamb Weston. The fast-food chain also goes through 3.4 billion pounds of potatoes annually.
There is so much more to learn about McDonald’s potatoes and how they’re processed, so keep reading!
Who is McDonald’s Potato Supplier?
McDonald’s has three potato suppliers that it uses, which are McCain, J.R. Simplot, and Lamb Weston.
These three companies have operations in Idaho, although McCain Foods wasn’t originally based in Idaho.
McCain Foods is a company headquartered in Canada but has two processing plants in Idaho.
Furthermore, McCain Foods is internationally the largest potato supplier for McDonald’s.
On top of that, Lamb Weston, which has two processing plants that make McDonald’s fries, is also a large supplier of McDonald’s.
Additionally, combined Lamb Weston, McCain, and Simplot supply over 70% of the potatoes for McDonald’s worldwide.
Who Are the Potato Farmers for McDonald’s?
McDonald’s uses a few potato farmers to supply the enormous amount of potatoes that the company needs for its iconic French Fries and other items.
One potato farmer is Frank Martinez, who lives in Washington and grows Russet Burbank potatoes.
Jenn Bunger is also a potato farmer living in Washington, and she grows potatoes for McDonald’s just as her father used to several decades ago.
100 Circle Farms in Washington supplies potatoes for McDonald’s, and most notably, Bill Gates owns farmland here that can be seen from space.
Furthermore, that makes Bill Gates also a supplier of McDonald’s potatoes!
On top of that, Noble Farms in Idaho, which was recently sold to J.R. Simplot, has long been involved in growing potatoes for McDonald’s.
What Kind of Potatoes Does McDonald’s Use?
McDonald’s uses a combination of Russet Burbank potatoes, along with Russet Ranger, Shepody, and Umatilla Russet potatoes, which are all grown by potato farmers.
Furthermore, it’s the use of multiple types of potatoes that gives McDonald’s French Fries such a unique and tasty flavor.
Does McDonald’s Use GMO Potatoes?
McDonald’s has refused to use any GMO potatoes, including the one J.R. Simplot created back in 2014, which is called the Innate potato.
Additionally, the Innate potato was approved by the USDA and was created to produce less of the cancer-causing compound that happens when potatoes are fried and don’t bruise easily.
However, McDonald’s wanted nothing to do with the Innate potato and has insisted that it won’t use any GMO potato for its French Fry or any other menu items.
How Many Potatoes Does McDonald’s Use in a Year?
McDonald’s goes through 3.4 billion pounds of potatoes each year, which is a staggering amount!
Furthermore, McDonald’s is the biggest purchaser of potatoes worldwide, and they go through around 9 million pounds of fries each day!
Are McDonald’s Fries Made from Real Potatoes?
McDonald’s French Fries are made from real potatoes, including the Russet Burbank, Russet Ranger, Umatilla Russet, and Shepody.
On top of that, the suppliers for McDonald’s first cut, peel, and blanch the potatoes before they are turned into fries at the processing plant and then shipped out to locations worldwide.
What Ingredients Are In McDonald’s Fries?
While potatoes might be the first ingredient to make the iconic McDonald’s French Fry, several other ingredients go into the fries, including:
- Vegetable Oil
- Canola Oil
- Corn Oil
- Soybean Oil
- Natural Beef Flavor
- Hydrolyzed Wheat
- Hydrolyzed Milk
- Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate
However, you may become thankful for that natural beef flavor when you find out that before 1992, beef tallow was used instead, which is incredibly high in fat!
How Does McDonald’s Cut the Potatoes for French Fries?
McDonald’s doesn’t officially cut the potatoes for French Fries; but instead, it’s done by McCain Foods, one of the processing plant companies.
Additionally, the potato-cutting machine has been described as being like a woodchipper in that it will cut potatoes between 60 miles per hour and 70 miles per hour!
Furthermore, the potatoes go into a long tube along with water that’s high-pressure, and then it’s shot out into the water knife.