Elea PEF expert Jimmy Kinsella talks about French fries in New Zealand:

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Delicious, crunchy and unhealthy – the deep-fried delicacy the French fry is set to become healthier and more environmentally friendly if new research prevails.

German Pulse Electric Field (PEF) technology is being put to the test in a three-month trial by University of Otago researchers.

Sending electric pulses through the chip, the technology alters the microstructure of the potato.

This makes the raw fries bendier and unbreakable – reducing the amount of potatoes wasted in the food making process.

There are also added health benefits for the cooked fries as they absorb less fat as they cook.

Not just limited to French fries, the technology has the potential to enhance the quality and value of many other New Zealand agriculture and horticulture products, University of Otago professor and PEF project leader Indrawati Oey says.

“With the equipment now in New Zealand, we are excited to begin the industrial trial with the hope of proving the techniques and in time enabling New Zealand food industries to benefit from this new technology.”

The pilot programme trial is a part of a Ministry for Business and Innovation funded Food Industry Enabling Technology programme worth $16.8 million over a six-year period, ending in 2021.