Think of gourmet Belgium and naturally you think of beer, chocolate and of course Belgian fries. Belgian frietkot culture has even been recognised as intangible cultural heritage. So it’s no wonder that Belgium is a specialist in the area of processing potatoes. Want to buy high-quality fries? Then look no further than your Belgian supplier.
The secret of delicious Belgian fries
Flanders has a rich potato history and since the end of the 20th century has experienced spectacular growth. The successful formula is made up of the Flemish soil and the mild climate which are ideal for growing potatoes. These circumstances, combined with Flemish professional skill, lead to an excellent quality potato. The perfect basis for a wide range of delicious potato products such as the original Belgian fries, mashed potato, flakes, granules, crisps, etc. which are known far outside Belgium. In 2017, export outside Europe already represented a quarter of the total export of Belgian potato products.
Belgian fries: from tradition to specialisation
It is no coincidence that Belgian fries are popular all over the world. After all, Belgian potato producers are dedicated to distinguishing themselves with regard to flavour. In addition to a high-quality potato as the raw material, their years of experience and specialisation in this also play an important role.
The Belgian potato sector’s success in exporting can be attributed to the cooperation and intensive consultation between all the links in the potato chain. The suppliers of machines, dedicated producers, dynamic traders, packers and processors have all worked together to offer a processed product that meets the needs of the modern customer.
Quality, food safety and traceability
Belgian frozen fries and other processed potato products comply with the strictest legislation in the area of external quality, such as sorting & uniformity, and intrinsic quality, such as phytosanitary aspects and residues.
The Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) monitors food safety and traceability throughout the chain. The production chain itself bundled the guidelines in the Vegaplan Standard and set up a self-inspection system. Both initiatives have been validated by the FASFC.
The Vegaplan Standard focuses on agricultural companies that wish to receive a Vegaplan certificate or the sector guide. In addition, Vegaplan also concentrates on the clients of primary vegetable production: traders and processors. Since 2014, the certificate also guarantees that products with a Vegaplan certificate comply with the European Integrated Pest Management (IPM) legislation and the sustainability criteria.
The link between trade and processing is guaranteed by guidelines for self-inspections, geared to the trade and processing of potatoes and vegetables. These guidelines are managed by the umbrella organisation: FVPhouse.
Sustainability & innovation
In the last few decades, the Belgian potato-processing industry has made major investments in sustainability, with a focus on water consumption and the prevention of food waste.
Examples of innovative projects in Belgium:
- WatchItgrow: This project has a webbased application to manage the data of production parcels via satellites or drones. For example, a crop can be followed more closely with the final goal of more efficient production and a higher yield.
- Reskia: With this project, the researchers want to offer economically feasible storage methods to keep potatoes in a lowresidue way, without loss of quality.