Belgapom, the association for the Belgian potato trade and processing industry, announced that in 2018 the 5 million tonne mark was passed with regard to processed potatoes. This is absolutely a new record and what makes it even more remarkable, is that it is the sharpest annual increase since the nineteen-nineties.
As a reminder: in 1990 around 500,000 tonnes of potatoes were processed into fries, mashed potato products, crisps or flakes and granules. 28 years later, the sector can report an increase of 1000 %.
The use of potatoes as a raw material rose by 11.6% in 2018. This is by far the sharpest increase in the history of this still relatively new sector of the Belgian food industry.
The sector continues to invest in the future, both with regard to quality and quantity. Sustainability is the leitmotiv through it all. Efforts are being made in the area of the sustainable cultivation of potatoes, environmentally friendly production and logistics.
Employment has also seen remarkable growth with an increase of 8 % compared to 2017. At present, 4762 blue and white-collar workers are employed in this strongly automated sector.
However, the prolonged drought and high temperatures during the 2018 -2019 growing season caused extensive damage.