The potato industry is urging Belgian citizens to consume French fries at least twice per week in an effort to support the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, Belgium has 750,000 tons of potatoes—the main ingredient for its national dish frites—that may go to waste if they are not consumed. Due to the lockdown, demand for potato products is down and Belgium’s capacity to store excess potatoes in freezers is being overwhelmed.
“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. What we are trying to do is to avoid food waste, because every lost potato is a loss,” Romain Cools, secretary general of Belgian potato industry group Belgapom, told CNBC. “A lot of people are really optimistic in my country and in the potato sector. But to be very honest, as we say in Dutch, I’m holding my heart for the months to come.” In addition to asking consumers to do their part, Cools is seeking support for the potato industry from the European Union for the first time.