Belgian fry shops coming to the Philippines

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Belgian fries

Belgian fry shops are coming to the Philippines. Belgian fries, which are baked twice and thicker than the traditional potato fries, are making their way to Southeast Asian markets, including the Philippines.

Belgian fry shops are found in every Belgian city or village. Belgium has recently recognized the fry shop culture as national intangible cultural heritage.

This recognition was made official by H.R.H. Prince Laurent of Belgium and represents the first step towards Unesco recognition, according to the Flanders' Agricultural Marketing Board (VLAM).

A growing presence of original Belgian fries is now noted in the Philippines. Five major Belgian fries exporters will attend major food trade fairs in Southeast Asia to further promote the products including at Food & Hotel Asia (Singapore, April 24 to 27), Thaifex (Thailand, May 29 to June 2), Wofex (the Philippines, August 1 to 4) and SIAL Interfood (Indonesia, November 21 to 24).

As a group, it will be their first B2B exhibition in the Philippines under the banner of original Belgian fries from the heart of Europe. Their plan to widen their networks and increase their share of the Philippines growing market for processed potato products.

Agristo, Bart’s Potato Company, Clarebout Potatoes, Ecofrost and Mydibel represent the five biggest family-owned businesses in the industry in Belgium. Their wide range of potato products and specialties are exported to over 100 countries worldwide. The companies are also halal-certified.

Their participation is part of a five-nation promotion campaign in Southeast Asia, a campaign co-financed by the European Union: “Original Belgian Fries. Universally Delicious.”

The campaign is coordinated by Belgium’s VLAM (Flanders' Agricultural Marketing Board) and supported by Belgapom, the association for the Belgian potato trade and processing industry.

Romain Cools, secretary-general of Belgapom, said 2017 is the “coming out year” for Belgian fries in Southeast Asia.

“This is one of the world’s largest fast growing regions with a rising middle class, rapid urbanization and an overall young population. These trends together with Europe’s high food standards and innovation and the unique taste and tradition of Belgian fries will continue to drive demand. The Belgian frozen fries industry is ready to reply to this in an original way, as our fries truly differ from those from other destinations,” Cools said.

Belgium's exports of frozen fries reached 25,154 metric tons in 2016, representing just 2 percent of the country's total exports of 1.68 million MT globally.

April 2018

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