Why fries could become a more costly treat in Denmark

Diners may notice some changes to the menus of their favourite eateries — fried foods are becoming more expensive or disappearing entirely from Danish restaurants.

Why fries could become a more costly treat in Denmark
It might soon be harder to find French fries at restaurants other than fast food outlets. Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

The cost of running fryers is causing an increasing number of restaurants in Denmark to change their menus, according to newspaper Politiken

Fast food staples like curly fries, sweet potato fries or the classic French fry or pomfret as it’s know in Danish may become a rarer commodity at restaurants, the newspaper writes.

Chains synonymous with serving fries could meanwhile be forced to suffer some damage to their bottom lines – or raise prices – as the cost of cooking the food goes up.

Increasing energy and raw material costs could influence the importance given to fried foods on restaurant menus.

“A fryer costs an insane amount of money to run,” Anders Aagaard of the restaurant Madklubben told newspaper Børsen.

“It uses an insane amount of power and the oil is insanely expensive. But boiling some new potatoes instead, which aren’t very big and therefore don’t take long to cook, can help us to save on [the energy] front,” he said. 

While Madklubben plans to strike French fries from the menu entirely, some restaurants famous for their fries — such as McDonald’s or Danish chains Jagger and Sunset Boulevard — are more likely to take a financial hit or raise their prices.

“We can, of course, like everyone else in the industry, recognise the increasing prices of energy and raw materials. We are following developments closely, but for now we are not changing the menu,” Sunset Boulevard CEO Jens Broch told Politiken.

“For example, fries are such a large request from our guests that we would go a long way to make sure these are available on the menu,” he said.

Both Jagger and McDonald’s confirmed to Politiken’s Ibyen supplement that they have raised prices on some menu items.

Jagger’s CEO and founder Christian Brandt said the company had “dragged it out as long as possible” but had now raised prices to account for increasing costs. Brandt also said the company had no plans to remove fries from its menus.

McDonalds, which has raised the prices of some of the cheapest burgers on its menu – known in Denmark as “coinoffers” – also said it would be holding onto the French fry.

“We recognise the increase in price of products. But we won’t be taking fries off the menu. People come to our restaurants because of things like French fries,” head of communications Fannie Pramming told Politiken.

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Denmark wins prestigious culinary award in global showdown

Denmark's ode to the humble squash helped propel the Nordic nation to victory Monday in prestigious culinary competition the Bocuse d'or, beating host and defending champion France.

Denmark wins prestigious culinary award in global showdown

With foghorns and firecrackers, a passionate Danish crowd cheered on chef Brian Mark Hansen, 41, as he steered Denmark to its third victory in the gastronomy equivalent of the World Cup.

“These Danes are crazy, hey? That’s the Vikings,” said Hansen, a chef in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Copenhagen. “I have dreamed of this for 20 years.”

After national selections in some 60 countries, the two-day final in Lyon pitted 24 chefs against each other in the competition set up by French “Nouvelle Cuisine” pioneer Paul Bocuse in 1983.

Norway came second and Hungary third.

Long known for their hearty meat-and-potatoes fare, Danish chefs have taken the culinary world by storm in recent years, racking up Michelin stars and global awards.

Scandinavian contestants have finished at least in the top three every time in the biennial event going back to 1991.

France has seven titles, but this year chef Nais Pirollet, 25, the only woman in the competition, finished fifth.

“There is no sadness, it is a victory to be here,” she said.

Training for the competition is intense, “a bit like a fighter pilot or Formula 1 driver,” said last year’s winner Davy Tissot, president of the 2023 jury.

Finland’s 25-year-old candidate Johan Kurkela has been known to train for 10 hours straight locked in a basement. Meanwhile, Pirollet trained daily for five-and-a-half hours nonstop to replicate competition conditions.

Denmark got the most jury votes in both categories.

The first, “Feed the kids,” aimed to highlight the importance of nutrition in children’s diets, using the squash.

From butternut to spaghetti squash, seeds and all, the chefs had to use their imagination to highlight the humble dish — a fruit often mistaken for a vegetable — resulting in an explosion of orange creations.

Simplicity “is the hardest thing to do,” said Tissot.

“I want to taste the squash. I also wanted to be transported into a universe which I might not know,” said three-star chef Dominique Crenn, honorary president of the grand final.

For the main dish, the chefs had to mesmerise with monkfish, pulling out all the stops when it came to presentation.

Mauritian chef Kritesh Halkory — one of only two candidates from Africa — used a massive sea urchin shell as a gravy boat.