Want Fries With That? The U.S. Economy Depends on Your Answer to This Question

Is the U.S. economy in better shape than a lot of people realize? A recent report reveals that French fry sales throughout the country have been strong, and believe it or not, that could be a sign that the American economy is in a great place.

French Fries and Their Impact on the U.S. Economy

It’s not exactly a secret that Americans love their French fries. Studies have shown that those in the U.S. eat about 4.5 billion pounds of French fries every year. That works out to be around 30 pounds worth of French fries per person.

Some people might argue that eating that many French fries each year is a bad thing — and all the health experts out there would agree with them. But financial gurus would likely tell people to keep ordering French fries every chance they get, because — get this — strong French fry sales could actually indicate that the U.S. economy is strong and thriving.

Wait, What?!

At first glance, it might not seem as though there would be much of a connection between French fry sales and the state of the U.S. economy. But according to a CNBC report, frozen potato suppliers like Lamb Weston Holdings keep tabs on what’s known as fry attachment rate, which refers to how many American consumers are ordering French fries with their orders at fast-food restaurants.

And they’ve discovered that when the fry attachment rate is on the higher side, it typically means the U.S. economy is in a good spot. The thinking is that people are still splurging on sides like French fries at fast food restaurants, which suggests they have the money to spend on things that aren’t necessities.

The Current Fry Attachment Rate

During a recent earnings call, Lamb Weston Holdings CEO Tom Werner shared some promising news, both for the industry in which he works and for the U.S. economy as a whole. He revealed that the fry attachment rate is higher right now than it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In spite of all the chatter taking place throughout the country about how the economy is bad and a recession could hit at any time, Werner spoke about how he’s optimistic about the state of the economy based on the current fry attachment rate alone.

Strong French Fry Sales

“The global frozen potato category continues to be solid with overall demand and supply balanced,” Werner said.

“Fry attachment rate, which is the rate at which consumers order fries when visiting a restaurant or other food service outlets across our key markets, [has] remained largely steady and above pre-pandemic levels.”

Time to Celebrate With an Order of Fries?

Werner is happy with the global frozen potato market and the positive impact it’s having on the U.S. economy. He did point out that, as recently as just a few months ago, French fry sales were starting to trend in the wrong direction.

Since then, though, things have rebounded within his industry and started to look up again. It shows that both the global frozen potato market and the U.S. economy might be showing signs of resiliency right now.

“Frozen potato demand has proven resilient during the most challenging economic times,” he said, “and we continue to be confident in the long-term growth prospect for the global category.”

French Fries for the Win

French fry sales and the fry attachment rate are obviously just two of the million and one things that can affect the U.S. economy and determine how strong it is. But it is interesting to hear about how French fries could be playing a more important part in the economy than we all realize.

It’ll make you think twice about turning them down the next time a fast-food employee asks, “Would you like fries with that?”

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