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How the Corona crisis is disrupting the European potato processing sector

The Dutch potato processing industry is virtually at a standstill due to the out-of-home market falling away. It is looking for alternative destinations for a huge potato surplus. Belgian processors are continuing as best possible. They are trying to extend their current season, and honor contracted volumes.

Martine van der Wekken of FreshPlaza spoke with Hylke Brunt, the Dutch Potato Processing Industry Association’s (VAVI) secretary, and Romain Cools, general secretary of Belgapom, the Belgian potato trading and processing sectors’ professional association, to learn more about the lay of the land in the European processing sector from their respective vantage points.

Hylke Brunt says the out-of-home market has collapsed throughout Europe. This market the Netherlands’ frozen potato products’ primary market.expects about a million tons of french-fry suited potatoes to go unprocessed. “This is a disaster year. The sector will face a major financial setback.”

Romain Cools told van der Wekken: “The foodservice sector has largely vanished for everyone, locally and overseas. But most of the potato processing companies that deal with large volumes are doing the best they can to absorb as many contracted potatoes as possible.” He says the current conditions will cast a shadow over the coming potato season. The ‘old‘ season is expected to continue for longer.

Read Martine van der Wekken’s extensive report on FreshPlaza here

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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