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Global demand for frozen potato products (comprised mostly of frozen fries) is forecast up 5% from last year, according to FreshPlaza.com, citing a report by PotatoPro.

The rise in demand is due to strengthening economic growth from key importers and an expansion of fast food restaurants, especially in smaller markets.

US exports are forecast up 5% on stronger demand from Mexico and the Philippines. Over the past decade, total exports have grown almost 50 %. Mexico is a key market for the United States. In March 2009, Mexico imposed a 20% retaliatory tariff on US frozen fries after the trucking dispute, which reduced competitiveness and accelerated the shift to Canadian products. However, in October 2011, the issue was resolved and the tariff was removed, which should boost US shipments and make US potatoes more competitive.

The United States is the world’s largest importer, with almost all supplied by Canada. Imports are forecast up 4 percent to 740,0 00 metric tons (MT), according to the USDA.

In Japan, imports are largely driven by demand from fast food chains. Many fast food outlets have fully recovered from the earthquake,and there was no significant impact on the overall consumption of frozen potato products. As a result, imports are expected to continue their upward trend and expand 3% to about 330,000 MT. The United States is the dominant supplier, with over 80% market share.

In China, western-style fast food chains continue to drive consumption. In 2010/11, imports jumped almost 70% to 85,000 tonnes due to supply shortages, largely benefiting US shippers who dominate imports. However, import demand in the near future is expected to return to normal levels as domestic production expands to meet that rising demand.

Source: FreshPlaza and USDA

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