Processing potatoes adds significant value to your crop, but...
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Golden French fries processing

Processing your harvest adds significant value

In many developed countries, the demand for fresh potatoes is either growing very slowly or falling.

Potatoes and their most common uses

Chips (French fries)

Chips (French fries)

Crisps (Chips)

Crisps (Chips)

Potato flakes

Potato flakes

Potato starch

Potato starch

Processing potatoes is an effective way of adding value to the final product, but all of these products require a considerable investment. Before considering investing in a production line, we recommend that you read the effect of economies of scale and take a moment to use our tool to see the effect of economies of scale on the product cost per kg in relation to the investment in machinery.

Given that we take many requests to help set up potato processing facilities, we would like to inform our readers of the following:

A facility for processing potatoes requires a significant investment: starting from 150,000 USD for a simple line for cutting chips (WITHOUT PRE-FRYING), cooling them to 4°C, and vacuum packing them. A facility for making potato flakes (for example, to make mashed potato) with a capacity of 400 kg/hour starts from 3,000,000 USD.

The effect of economies of scale

Given the growing interest in processing potatoes to make pre-fried, frozen chips, we will use this particular type of facility as an example. The same considerations can be applied for making crisps (chips in the US), and more for flaking or starch lines.

To ensure that the finished product meets quality requirements, industrial production of this form of potato tends to be done continuously. This means that the standard modern production line is made up of independent machines, which operate continuously (or semi-continuously). This is so that the machines can be adjusted in real time during production, ensuring reliable and convenient quality and quantity.

Due to its technical properties, it works out more expensive (relative to production capacity) to build machines for small-scale production than for large-scale production. For this reason, these machines are only commercially viable if you have a guaranteed minimum output capacity, which in the case of pre-fried potatoes is approximately 125 kg per hour. That said, there are also lines for small-scale production, but their only downfall is that they are not very profitable.

The following graphs indicate how much investment is required, and how much it costs to produce one kg per hour of frozen, pre-fried and packaged potatoes.

Investment for a production line for pre-fried, frozen and packaged potatoes.

Investment for a production line for pre-fried, frozen and packaged potatoes.

Investment for a production line for pre-fried, frozen and packaged potatoes by capacity

Investment for a production line for pre-fried, frozen and packaged potatoes by capacity kg/hour.

Investment in a line
In millions of Euros
Capacity Kg/hour12525050010001500
Highly sophisticated facility0.81.31.82.63.4
Less sophisticated facility0.50.81.11.62.1
Investment in a line by Kg produced/hour
In millions of Euros
Capacity Kg/hour12525050010001500
Highly sophisticated facility 6.65.23.62.52.2
Less sophisticated facility4.43.22.31.61.4

The figures for "investment in a line by Kg produced/hour" is the total investment, that is, the table to the left divided by the capacity. In other words, it represents the investment cost per kg of product as if the facility were only operating for one hour.


Tool to demonstrate: "The effect of economies of scale".

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Click the photos below for more details on the most common potato processes.

French fries or chips production

Chips (French fries) production

Chips o crisps

Crisps (Chips) production

Potato flakes

Potato flakes production

Potato starch

Potato starch production

Next up: Slicing and dicing of vegetables

People are consuming increasingly less fresh potatoes and more processed potatoes, mainly chips (French fries) or crisps (chips in the US).

New processes have recently been invented to add value to the humble potato, such as super-cleaning them or making them microwave-ready.

In developing countries, consumption per person is on the rise, in terms of both fresh and processed potatoes.


To mechanise your post harvest processes:
contact us:
Telephone:
+1 239 3002374
or use our (preferable)
our contact form

Address: Farm San Isidro, Volcán, Panama.