Not a small fry: Belgian potatoes take centre stage

Despite fuelling challenges from climate change and the global supply chain, Belgium has emerged as a significant player in the potato production sector, bringing its cultivation and culinary expertise to the rest of the word.

By Agatha Wong

Beloved around the world, the humble fry can be found across various dishes, be it a side to the main course or a mid-day snack. And while some may refer to it as the French fry, the term is in fact a misnomer. It was said that American soldiers christened the slices of fried potatoes as such after discovering it in Belgium, which considers French one of its three official languages.

Since then, Belgium has gone on to become a significant player in potato exports, being the top global exporter of potatoes in 2021 at 53.7% of its total shares. While the pandemic has made an understandable dent in its performance, demand for the root vegetable remains strong. This is in lieu of competition from countries such as Canada and the US, whose potato production is centred on meeting domestic demand.

“Belgian potatoes have a natural and well-monitored cultivation process, with high-quality, certified seeds which make their flesh tasty and give it a natural yellowish colour, removing the need to add dyes for the golden-yellow colour,” shared Hartwig Moyaert, project coordinator at Flanders’ Agricultural Marketing Board (VLAM). “From raw product to processing, packaging and transport, the Belgian potato chain takes optimal care of its potatoes and fries, backed by the most exacting procedures and quality standards.”

The full article can be found on Food & Beverage Asia’s October/November 2022 issue here.