The chips companies would like you to believe that you are in an alternate universe, happily munching on the fluffy golden chips in an ethereal climate filled with gospel songs from the choir. This is no exaggeration, as a leading producer recently sanctioned such an advertising campaign. However, the difference between perception and reality is becoming too gaping to ignore. Market statistics report that the sale of frozen chips is down by a significant 4.6% in a year-on-year estimate. The shifting trends may well indicate a major change in consumer psychology regarding these processed food products.
A major reason for the slump is perhaps the subsequent rise of acquiring a bag of chips. The average price of the product rose by 17 % in a year-on-year estimate. This is definitely taking tolls on families surviving on tight budgets. The Potato Council executive Caroline Evans noted that rise in minimum wage, energy cost, and fuel cost has been crucial in causing the customer to pay more than before for a bag of chips. Besides, last year had a wet year all around and that did not help in potato farming. Statistics show that the harvest on potatoes in the UK was down by 23.9 % from the last year. Ironically, the hot summers of this year did not help the manufacturers either. This is because consumers rarely use their ovens in the hot season.
The pubs, chip shops and the restaurants also exhibited a significant fall in chips consumption. The sale was down by 4.7% by June 2013. This has been intriguing trend as Brits have the uncanny reputation of loving their chips even more than the queen. There are other factors contributing to the fall of the grace of the chips. The deputy editor to the Restaurant Magazine, Stefan Chomka pointed out several other factors. He noted that the French brassiere revival and the growth of national food chains may had an impact on the consumption. He also pointed out to the rise in popularity of the US-themed grills and burger restaurants, which mainly serve thin fries and shoestring fries. Chonka waits for the arrival of the next big trend in the market that could change the entire scenario. He points out to how the triple cooked chips shot to stardom in the 1990s. According to him, the most noteworthy trends in the present include the sweet potato fries and the skin-on fries.
Frozen foods always have their own share of controversies. With the despicable horsemeat scandal still fresh in the memory of the average Brit, there are lots of doubts on how good these foods are. Practical concerns on the mode of cooking and the use of preservative chemicals are also on the rise. However, the chips still continue to be a favorite of many because they offer a much lesser calorific value than the bistro and chip shop products. Consumer experience notes that cooking the frozen oven chips long enough gives a golden shell and a fluffy center that manifold improves the experience.