PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The menu price of French fries in Portland nearly doubled between January of 2021 and August of 2023, a report published by the restaurant-focused software company SpotOn shows.
According to the company’s “French fry index” report, inflation caused the price of Russet potatoes to skyrocket by 166.2% between 2021 and 2023, resulting in pricier fries around the U.S. The report states that the average order of French fries cost Portland customers $4.10 in August. In January of 2021, the same amount of fries cost restaurant customers $2.26.
“SpotOn wanted to find a menu item that is universal to most cultures, cuisines, and restaurants to determine how economic pressures have affected restaurant pricing over time,” SpotOn’s Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Bryla told KOIN 6 News. “French Fries are beloved worldwide and are a vessel for everything from an affordable side to a decadent luxury.”
While Portland is among the measured U.S. cities affected by fry inflation, SpotOn said that prices are worse in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, Washington DC, New York and Detroit. Los Angeles experienced the highest French fry prices in the U.S. in August, with an average order of fries rising to $10.70, the report states.
“We weren’t surprised to find that Los Angeles topped the list with the priciest French fries — truffle fries perhaps?” Bryla said. “Whatever the menu item, restaurants must have a pricing strategy that drives foot traffic and profit.”
The USDA’s U.S. monthly Producer Price Indexes for fresh vegetables shows that potato prices continue to trend downward after peaking in 2022. Despite the drop in potato prices, the price of frozen potato products continues to spike, rising by more than 35% in August.
It’s unclear if Portland’s French fry may change in the coming months as the Federal Reserve continues its fight against national inflation. Currently, Portland prices remain slightly higher than the national average.
“Overall, the price of French fries has seen a gradual increase in line with inflation,” the SpotOn report reads. “There was a 17.53% increase in the national average price of French fries from $2.46 to $2.90 between January 2021 and August 2023.”