20 February 2023
Largest contingent of potato exhibitors seen at this year's Fruit Logistica.
IN just a few decades the Belgian potato processing industry has grown into the world's largest exporter of pre-fried potato products, according to VLAM, Flanders' Agricultural Marketing Board.
All over the world, consumers now enjoy original Belgian fries and in 2021 the export of frozen potatoes amounted to 3.1 million tonnes.
This was never more apparent than at the recent 2023 Fruit Logistica exhibition in Berlin, where potato producers formed a key contingent of the 40 Belgian companies, auctions and trade associations participating at the 660 m² joint VLAM stand.
Those exhibiting included Binst Breeding & Selection, which offers a large number of varieties of seed potatoes; De Aardappelhoeve, a specialist in the cultivation, storage, washing and packaging of table potatoes; Ranst potato/product supplier Pomuni; RTL Patat, a specialised potato grower in the Belgian border region; peeling specialist Viafrites; Remo frit, a family company which grows, peels, cuts and provides processed potatoes; and Warnez, another family company that packages Belgian potatoes for the fresh market.
In Belgium, around five million tons of potatoes are processed annually into a wide range of potato products including chilled and frozen fries, puree products, crisps, granules, and flakes.
The country's market share outside of Europe is also on the rise, particularly for Belgian chip exporters. In 2021, the share of non-European markets already amounted to 34%, more than double what it was a decade ago.
"Never before was the interest of Belgian exhibitors at the world fair as big as in 2023," a recent VLAM statement announced, going on to add: "One thing is already clear: The sustainability trend that is already pronounced will gain further momentum. Consumers are clearly returning to traditional, seasonal vegetables. Producers and trade cannot turn a blind eye to this development."
Belgian potatoes are very poplar, both at home and abroad. That much is clear from the growing Belgian export of fresh potatoes, seed potatoes and processed potatoes, with real Belgian fries leading the way.
Source: Belgian Potatoes / VLAM