SimpliFine has commissioned its Individual Quick Freezing (“IQF”) processing line in Kenya. SimpliFine is a Kenyan integrated food producer offering locally sourced and manufactured food products across East Africa.
By investing in IQF technology, SimpliFine is expanding its production of fresh French fries to offer frozen French fries, increasing the supply and extending the shelf life of locally produced potatoes. SimpliFine’s technology will expand the market for Kenyan potato farmers and reduce reliance on imported French fries.
This comes as a ray of hope for Kenyan potato farmers who have been denied the chance to supply potatoes to big brands such as the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), which recently ran out of frozen French fries supplies.
“SimpliFine launched its French fry business in March 2021 and has built strong relationships with our local supplier farmers and our customers. We invested in new technology to produce a quality French fry that serves a broader market in Kenya and in the region,” said Steven Carlyon, President of SimpliFine.
“We will be launching our frozen French fries later this month and look forward to launching additional frozen fruits and vegetable products in the future.”
The announcement follows three acquisitions in 2021 by SimpliFine’s parent company, BlackIvy: Ennsvalley Bakery, Alpha Fine Foods and a French fry production company based in Naivasha. SimpliFine offers a one-stop shop for customers seeking a range of vegetable, meat and bakery products. The investment in IQF technology reaffirms SimpliFine’s commitment to providing locally sourced, quality fine foods across the region, creating jobs and strengthening the economy. SimpliFine will leverage its affiliate company, BigCold, to provide advanced temperature-controlled supply chain management and operational expertise to ensure safe, quality and affordable food that is locally sourced, manufactured, and delivered to customers.
“SimpliFine is committed to making good food using local ingredients. We are passionate about growing communities by delivering nutritious, quality foods at accessible prices,” added Steven Carlyon, President of SimpliFine.
“We are excited to bring technology to Kenya that expands markets for its agricultural products and improve farmers’ livelihoods.”
Early this month, KFC announced that iit had ran short of french fries, following delaying in the importation of frozen potatoes.
KFC as well as several other international fast-food chains operating in Kenya import potatoes from countries including Netherlands, South Africa and Egypt as opposed to sourcing them locally.
The chains maintain that they import potatoes to ensure global standards are met across their outlets.
Despite promising to source raw potatoes from Kenyan farmers, KFC later refused to disclose required standards to farmers.
Speaking to a local daily, KFC said that it does “not disclose proprietary information around sourcing and pricing”.
With international supply chain woes capturing global attention in the past year, the shortage of fries at KFC Kenya has drawn further attention to the issue.
Players including private sector entities have been scaling up production of the preferred varieties of potato for chips in a bid to tap into the fast-food market.
In 2020, Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) licensed juice maker Kevian Limited to produce quality tubers. Kevian is to commercialize five of Karlo’s high-yielding potato seed varieties on a 15-year contract to boost local production of the right variety required by multinational franchises and cut imports.
Kenyan firms such as Sereni Fries have also ventured into the production of frozen cut fries with one eye on fast food chains. Some of Sereni’s customers include Chicken Inn Kenya and Naivas Supermarkets.