By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Demand for Belgian potatoes such as frozen potatoes, fries and other related potato products in the Philippines is growing at an unprecedented pace by nearly 300 percent over the last 10 years.
Hartwig Moyaert, project coordinator for export promotion at Belgium’s Flanders Agricultural Marketing Board (Flemish Center for Agricultural and Fisheries Marketing), said that growth in demand for Belgian potatoes in the Philippines has been at par with the growth in the entire southeast Asia.
“The export to the Philippines, in particular, is growing at an unprecedented pace — by nearly 300 percent over the last 10 years,” said Moyaert.
In 2018, the Belgian suppliers exported 30,468 tons of fries to the Philippines — a 300 percent increase from its 8,949 tons export in 2010. In the first half of 2019, Belgian suppliers saw more than 18,703 tons of fries imported to the country.
In the first half of this year, Belgian potato suppliers already shipped 50,000 tons of frozen potatoes, fries, and other potato related products to Southeast Asia.
“Based on the recent figures from Belgian potato suppliers, Filipinos certainly love fries and other potato products,” Moyaert said.
The five largest Belgian suppliers are Agristo, Bart’s Potato Company, Clarebout Potatoes, Ecofrost and Mydibel.
These family-owned businesses ship potato products all over the world.
“There has been an existing market in the Philippines for fried potato products for quite a long time. The Philippines is part of Southeast Asia, one of the largest fast-growing regions in the world, with a rising middle class, rapid urbanization and an overall young population. These complimenting trends, together with Belgium’s high food standards and innovation, will continue to drive demand in the region and beyond, and the Belgian industry is ready to reply to this in an original way,” said Moyaert.
The ASEAN region became a large target market for Belgian potatoes over the last decade, with Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines proving to be growing markets for potato products from Belgium.
To further promote Belgian fries in the region, Original Belgian Fries, the organization of Belgian frozen potato products suppliers, supported the recent five-day Back to Basic Challenge at Thaifex 2019 in Thailand. Every participant had to prepare two toppings and two dips to combine with tasty, Belgian-style fries.
Apart from the Back to Basic Challenge 2019 in Thailand, Belgian suppliers will showcase their finest potato produce straight from the heart of Europe at the SIAL Interfood 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia, from November 13 to 16, 2019.