If there’s one thing Belgians are known for eating a lot of, it’s chips. Frites or frieten – usually served with a big dollop of mayonnaise – are the country’s national dish. Yet in these strange and uncertain times, it seems Belgians are not consuming quite enough. The country’s potato growers are now encouraging people to eat chips at least twice a week – to prevent the industry collapsing due to a lack of demand.
Exports have plummeted since Belgium shut down, and the closure of restaurants and the cancellation of spring and summer festivals has also dented firms’ finances. Around 750,000 tonnes of potatoes are currently piled up in warehouses across the country, according to growers’ union Belgapom. In a public statement, Romain Cools, its secretary-general, said: ‘Let’s all eat chips twice a week, instead of just once.’
Belgapom is already delivering 25 tonnes of potatoes weekly to food banks across the Flanders region, and broadcaster RTBF has reported that surplus potatoes could also be used as biofuel to generate electricity. For growers to stay afloat, however, they say they’ll need the Belgian public’s support. Patriotic spud lovers, step up!
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