Confusion as KFC Kenya Runs Out of Potatoes… Still Won’t Buy Local

January 4, 2022

Kenyans on social media were on Monday left perplexed after Kentucky Fried Kitchen (KFC) ran out of potatoes to make their chips.

The popular fast food franchise, which operates mainly in Nairobi and other big cities, announced on their social media platforms that the Christmas rush to get a hold of their products had left them with no chips.

“Fam it was truly a Furaha December.  Mlikula sherehe with your KFC faves. Ya’ll loved our chips a little too much, and we’ve run out. Sorry! Our team is working hard to resolve the issue. In the meantime here are some SWAP options for combo meals if you are craving our Kuku,” they tweeted.

Many Kenyans wondered how a major fast food chain like KFC can run out of chips, in a country that has a seemingly endless supply of potatoes.

It turns out and unbeknown to many Kenyans, that KFC imports their potatoes.

While the quality of their chicken varies widely from branch to branch and even in the same branch from day to day, one thing that most Kenyans have near consensus on is that their chips are consistently top tier.

And to ensure that quality and consistency is maintained, Kuku Foods East Africa – the local KFC franchise holder, sources their cut potatoes outside Kenya. When they started operations here, the potatoes came from Egypt, but it is unclear whether this is still the case.

Apparently, no Kenyan producer of potatoes passes KFC’s rigorous quality assurance approval process. In this regard, Kuku Foods East Africa’s hands are tied, as KFC global headquarters demands certain standards across all country, to maintain quality and consistency globally and protect the reputation of the brand.

“The reason we cannot buy local at the moment is all suppliers need to go through the global QA approval process and we cannot bypass that even if we run out to ensure that our food is safe for consumption by our customers,” he said.

About 800,000 small scale Kenyan farmers cultivate potatoes, with the crop’s contribution to the Kenyan economy valued at about Sh50 billion. It is sad that entrepreneurs and county governments in potato producing regions like Nyandarua have done little to modernize the processing.

Back the to shortage, Kuku Foods CEO Jacques Theunissen told Business Daily that a hitch in the global supply of potatoes led to this situation, but it is being addressed shortly.

“It has to do with delays in shipping lines due to the Covid situation. Ships have been delayed for more than a month now, but we are working hard to restore as the first containers are arriving in the port tomorrow (Tuesday),” said Mr Theunissen.

For the duration of the shortage, KFC has added ugali to their menu. It is unclear whether this is the same breaded and fried ugali nuggets they discontinued some years back, or just plain old Kenyan ugali.

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