Food & Beverage Asia Aug/Sep 2018

FOOD & BEVERAGE ASIA AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018 A sk any consumer on the streets in Asia where fries originated from and many will likely choose France as their answer, thanks to the oft-used generic term, French fries. However, while it is said that Belgium is the inventor of the potato dish, Belgian fries is likely to be unfamiliar sounding or completely foreign to many, in light of the more favoured “shoe-lace” version from America. This is why Flemish bureau for agricultural marketing VLAM leapt on this market opportunity and took steps to expand the presence of Belgium’s frozen potato products in Southeast Asia starting last year. Together with Belgapom, the association for the Belgian potato trade and processing industry, VLAM kick-started this strategy by sending out five of Belgium’s biggest family-owned fries exporters to participate in the region’s most important trade exhibitions such as Food and Hotel Asia held in Singapore. There, Mr. Romain Cools, Secretary-General of Belgapom presented an impressive case for Belgian fries – citing Belgium’s unique “frietkot” culture as well as the country’s ideal growth conditions for the potato crop, among others. Similarly in Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, the team tapped on exhibitions to establish Belgium’s position as a major potato exporter. Uniquely Belgian Made from potatoes from the hearth of Europe, Belgian fries are a national product that stands out for its cultural importance in the country. Just last year, the dish was o ̮ cially added to the UNESCO list of cultural treasures. The Belgian potato is growing in popularity across Southeast Asia thanks to a promotional campaign that is seeing five major Belgian fries exporters participating in the region's most important trade exhibitions. Food and Beverage Asia speaks with Mr. Romain Cools, Secretary-General of Belgapom to find out more. INGREDIENTS 34 Written by Amanda Soo