Since the introduction of potato into India in the late 16th and early 17th centuries by Portuguese traders or British missionaries, India has grown to the second largest potato producer in the world. The potato production in India in 2013 is 45,343,600 tonnes while the harvested area is 1,992,200 hectares. The potato processing industry is expanding fast in India especially the snack foods sector, including potato chips.

The Resource Advantages of Processing Chips in India

Abundant Raw Potatoes

Firstly, India has abundant raw potatoes for processing into chips. Since 1960, potato production in India increased by almost 850%.
Trends in Area, Production, and Productivity (1949-50 to 2010-11)


Potato Producing Districts

Secondly, India has many potatoes producing districts. Indo-Gangetic plain grows potatoes during the short winter days from October to March due to the hot summers and short winters. Besides, some year-round production takes place in relatively high altitude areas in the south.

Main Potato Producing Districts in India and the Share(2012-2013)

State Production (000 Tonnes) Share(%)
Uttar Pradesh 13,869.94 31.01
West Bengal 11,550.00 25.82
Bihar 6,842.92 15.30
Gujarat 2,499.73 5.59
Punjab 2,129.79 4.76
Madhya Pradesh 1,998.35 4.47
Assam 975.27 2.18
Karnataka 698.30 1.56
Haryana 676.01 1.51
Jharkhand 659.61 1.47

Potatoes Varieties in India

At last, potato supply chain in India has an intriguing aspect which is the strong vertical integration. Companies developing suitable varieties of potatoes, such as ITC, Merino Industries, CPRI, offer a lot of promise for the future potato processing potential in India.

Potato Varieties in India Suitable for Processing Chips and Fries

Characters French fries Chips
Tuber shape Long-oval (>3 inches) Round (2.5-3.3 inch)
Skin color White/Yellow White/Yellow
Eye depth Shallow Shallow
Flesh color White/Yellow White/Yellow
Texture Mealy Mealy
Uniformity High High
Defects Minimum Minimum
Dry matter (%) >20 >20
Reducing sugars <200mg <100mg
Phenols Less Less
Glycoalkaloids <15mg <15mg
Keeping quality Good Good
Damage resistance High High

Potato Processing Industry In India

While potato processing was negligible in India at the beginning of the 21st century, this was a turning point when the industry began to take great strides. The snack foods sector, including potato chips, is developing most rapidly, while the snack food market is reported to be growing at 7 to 8 % annually. Potato chips are estimated to constitute nearly 85% of total salty snack food market, showing an annual growth rate of 17% which ranks second after French fries(20%).

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