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Coronavirus: Belgian fries begin to suffer

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has dealt a blow to a particularly Belgian market, as the country begins to see declining sales of the humble fry, reports Jules Johnston in The Brussels Times.

Around 1 million tons of potatoes – an estimated €200 million worth in better times – are currently stored in the barns across the country. These should be sold on and turned into potato products, but in current times that’s not guaranteed.

This drop in demand comes as factories opt to make less processed potatoes, as the market for products goes cold in the face of the new coronavirus (Covid-19).

“Our products no longer reach the customer. In the Netherlands, they will have a surplus of 1 million tonnes of potatoes. Our country won’t be far from there,” Romain Cools of Belgapom, the Belgian federation of potato processing companies told VRT.

According to de Tijd, exports account for 90% of the Belgian frozen French fries sales, hitting 2.7 million tons of frozen potato products last year. That’s currently not happening.

“Our fries production is partly at a standstill. We will continue to make the other potato specialities, but at a slower pace because our employees have to work at a safe distance from each other,” said Philippe Debruyne, manager of potato processing company Aviko.

Source: The Brussels Times

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