Belgians Called Upon to Help Economy By Eating More French Fries
Ask not what a country can do you for you. Ask what you can do for your country. And if doubling one's weekly consumption of french fries is a civic duty, then so be it.
That appears to be the case in Belgium, where a coronavirus-related surplus of potatoes has led to a very real appeal for its citizens to consume french fries at least twice a week to deal with a reported excess of 750,000 tons of potatoes due to coronavirus-related kinks in the supply chain.
This comes from the secretary general of the Belgian potato industry named Romain Cools who spoke with CNBC Tuesday, and revealed that "750,000 tons of potatoes — enough to fill 30,000 big lorries — would probably not be processed because of the pandemic."
The issue was largely down to a fall in demand in the frozen potato sector, which accounts for around 75% of Belgium's potato processing, he said. As inventories built up, freezer capacity was being squeezed. In order to mitigate the problem, Belgapom was appealing to Belgians to up their weekly intake of fries.
"We're working with supermarkets to see whether we can launch a campaign asking Belgians to do something for the sector by eating fries — especially frozen fries — twice a week during the coronavirus crisis," Cools told CNBC, adding "What we are trying to do is to avoid food waste, because every lost potato is a loss."
Belgium is known for its french fries, which are typically fried in oil twice, to give them a particularly crispy and delicious flavor. Belgian fries are also often served with a side of mayonnaise to dip in, though ketchup is still also a very popular condiment for fries as well.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused a shock in food supply chains around the world and leading to very real concerns about food shortages. This is the case in Belgium, as Cools tells CNBC. "To be very honest, the effect on potato consumption will probably last for months, and we can only try to find solutions where the solutions are — for us in Belgium, that could be pushing home consumption," he said.