Sunday, September 27, 2009


Growing potato for products like french fries and chips or wafers is a highly exacting job and the manufacturers in the organized sector have effective control on the production of the raw material since ultimate quality that is characteristic of the brand can be delivered only under such conditions. There is an acute conflict between the manufacturer and the consumer on one hand and between the former and the share holders of the company regarding what and how the products must be manufactured. The industry has the unenviable job of reconciling the expectations of all stake holders without affecting the financial bottom line.

The French Fries major, McDonald's is facing precisely the above challenge and evolving necessary strategy to change the present mindset. "In March, McDonald's acceded to the wishes of shareholders who wanted it to develop best practices for reducing the pesticides used to process its potatoes. The term "best practices" tends to be slippery, but any actions by McDonald's will by definition have a massive impact on the food industry. With that in mind, the company is working with growers and food scientists to develop new strains of potatoes that will satisfy customers while supporting the environment".

The experience of companies like McDonald's will be watched closely by others and may herald a new beginning for a shift from "reckless" production of raw materials with single objective of increasing the yield at any cost to "responsible" production with multiple vision that will benefit all the stakeholders. Food industry must play its role in protecting the environment through moderating its practices in a way that will not jeopardize the lives of people in general.

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