July 8, 2019
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Lamb Weston leading effort to design delivery-friendly french fries

Home or office delivery of food is a booming business, but it's not a perfect solution for french fries, which often arrive soggy. To help solve this problem, Lamb Weston's food innovation lab in Kennewick has come up with a proprietary new recipe as well as new packaging solutions that they're sharing with the world, the Northwest News Network reports.

Once removed from cooking oil, most fries can only stay crisp for 12 minutes at the most. Deb Dihel, head of innovation for Lamb Weston, showed off the company's Crispy on Delivery fries that she helped develop over the past few years. The potato slices are battered in a special mix of potato starch and rice flour (the exact formulation is a trade secret) to keep them crisp when they come out of the oil and even 30 minutes later.

The other part of the soggy fry dilemma is packaging. Sealing up fries for delivery ensures that the steam will make them soggy. To solve this problem, Lamb Weston developed a special perforated container with holes that let out enough steam to keep the fries from getting soggy, but keeps in just enough to keep them hot. This design is available for big restaurants and other packaging brands to copy.

The innovation continues at Lamb Weston. Dihel said that she imagines a future when fries can be delivered hot and fresh by self-driving cars with onboard robots and air fryers.

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Unintended Consequences

State's proposed overtime rule change goes too far, too fast

By AWB President Kris Johnson

If it's approved, any employer with salaried workers making less than that amount will be faced with the difficult decision to either raise their employees' salary to nearly $80,000 or convert the worker to hourly status. For employers who can't afford to give out big raises, they may have little or no choice but to switch employees to hourly status.

In theory, this could lead to increased pay for some workers, but that's only if their employer can afford to pay overtime. Small businesses, nonprofits and other employers that can't absorb the cost increase will likely cut services.

Even for workers who don't take a step backward financially, the change could feel like a demotion. Increasingly, employees value flexibility in work hours, particularly younger workers. Making the transition from a salaried job -- with the flexibility to duck out for a couple hours in the middle of the day to take care of family obligation -- to an hourly worker who is required to be in the office a full eight hours, without the option of working from home, will be jarring.

No one is disputing that Washington's overtime rule needs updating. But the state's proposal simply goes too far, too fast and risks harming the employees it's intended to help.

Read the full column in The Wenatchee Valley Business World