Many take-aways and catering companies don’t go through the schlep of peeling and cutting potatoes, the buy it fresh, ready cut and peeled. Start your own bulk potato chip supply company.

Getting started
To get started in this business with moderate scale you will need
• An automatic potato peeler
• An industrial potato cutter (if you have the budget you can get a automatic cutter as well, but a manual cutter is sufficient starting out, if you can have someone manning it the whole day).

Automatic potato peeler

Automatic potato peeler

The automatic peelers usually comes in capacities of 5kg, 10kg, 15kg, 30kg etc. try to get at least a 10kg peeler, that means you’ll be able to peel a pocket of potatoes at a time. A peeler of this size will cost you in the region of R10000. A manual industrial/heavy duty cutter: around R1000. Even though an automated peeler is a sizeable investment for a small business, it is advised as to peel potatoes by hand is time consuming and I’m not sure how viable this business is (capacity wise) without some automation.

You will also need a reliable supply of potatoes and if you can buy direct from the farm that would be a plus.

Business model
The potatoes are cut and bagged (submerged in water) and delivered to clients in large quantities (at least 10kg bags). This is a business that supplies fresh (unfrozen), ready-cut potato chips.

Getting clients
Marketing and signing up new clients will be the most difficult. Many existing companies already have suppliers or cut their own potatoes. So you have to either be cheaper, or target new clients starting out. If companies are cutting their own chips you could find out how much they are paying per pocket of potatoes and how much it costs them to cut it (or the time), then see it will be viable for you to supply them instead. You will also need to offer deliveries as the types of companies that use this product are usually smaller short staffed eateries and will be much easier to sell to if you can offer a delivery service whenever they need it.

If you can figure how to grow this business, this is an operation that can be started with little technical ability, a modest amount of capital, and capacity can be easily expanded by adding more machines.

Image credits: TOMRA, iMettos


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