In 2017 Russia imported 94 percent of its French fries but has bought the necessary equipment to produce it locally, Russia’s National Horticultural Union head Sergey Korolev has said.
According to Mr Korolev the new equipment allows production of 110.000 tons a years, while the market is 106.000 tons.
Mr Korolev also added: “The introduction of restrictions on the supply of imported frozen French fries, according to the Union, will not only support domestic agricultural producers engaged in the production of raw potatoes, but will also contribute to the preservation of jobs at newly established processing enterprises, and will increase the safety and quality of the product.”
The McDonald’s Corp, which opened in Russia in 1990 as the Soviet Union collapsed has been gradually turning to local ingredients in its Russian outlets from Big Mags to chicken burgers since its opening.
But until now, it had to rely only on imported French fries as Russian potatoes were not good enough.
Khamzat Khasbulatov, chairman of McDonald’s Russia, said: “There was no potato which would suit us in terms of quality, colour, taste, size.
“These are all the details that are important for us.”
However, last month McDonald’s made the switch to home-grown potatoes to deal with rouble vitality caused by fluctuating oil prices and western sanctions.
“The rouble’s volatility was one of the major components of our interest in localisation,” Mr Khasbulatov explained.
A plant south of Moscow using potatoes grown on local farms will now start supplying frozen fries to 651 McDonald’s restaurant across Russia.
Domestic production is expected to replace imported French fries and fully satisfy the country’s needs.
Russia has been deciding how to respond to the new US sanctions imposed in April.
Vyacheslav Volodin, chairman of State Duma, the Russian parliament’s lower house, introduced the bill to “respond to boorish behaviour on the part of the US” and it allies, which is currently being considered by President Vladimir Putin.
The bill proposes a complete ban or restriction on “agricultural products, raw materials and food products originating in the United States or other countries that support the measures that the US has taken towards our country”, first deputy chairman of the State Duma, Ivan Melnikov, said.
The proposed sanctions could also result in a ban on alcohol and tobacco, as well as nuclear imports, medicines and technology software.