I Think I May Need to Move to Belgium for a While

It was a mid-afternoon, early evening snack that oftentimes ended up being my dinner for the day when we stayed in London a couple of years ago.

Of course, I’m talking about beer and french fries (or chips as they call them in England).

I know french fries aren’t the healthiest food in the world, but what can I say, it’s one of my favorite foods in the world.

And beer? Well, beer is beer.

So what’s this got to do with Belgium?

I did not know that Belgium is the world’s largest exporter of potatoes, and 2020 looked like it would be a good year for the industry, following a 7.5% rise last year in the production of frozen fries. But the virus outbreak halted exports to China, then triggered a slowdown of potato sales across Europe as lockdown measures were implemented.

Because of the lockdowns in place, the demand for frozen potatoes has nosedived in recent weeks, and the Belgian industry faces the possible loss of 125 million euros ($135.5 million), if hundreds of tons of surplus potatoes don’t move this year, according to Romain Cools, the Belgapom secretary-general.

Belgians eat french fries once a week, and it’s always a festive moment. The french fry culture is strong in Belgium, where people also share a taste for beer with the chip-eaters in Britain. There are even outside shacks known as “fritkoten” where Belgians queue up day in and day out in normal times to buy their beloved fries. These shacks were allowed to stay open during the lockdown, but approximately 80% remain closed, contributing to the big drop in the demand for potatoes.

So what to do, you may ask?

One proposed solution is asking Belgians o eat frozen fries twice a week at home in an effort to support the potato industry. In other words, double your weekly consumption of french fries. That would also likely lead to an increase in beer consumption.

Now I don’t know how to make a mask and I’m not working on the front-line of the pandemic, but eating french fries and drinking beer sounds like not only a great way to bond with the local Belgians, I’d also be doing my part to fight covid-19.

So I plan to start a Kickstarter campaign that will fund my airfare, accommodations, beer, fries and tips for two weeks in Belgium. I’ll let you know when it’s ready for your contributions.

I think two weeks should be enough time to help move the needle for the potato industry.

*source: HuffPost

33 thoughts on “I Think I May Need to Move to Belgium for a While

  1. In Kenya, the local people have been throwing away the flowers they grow to export to Europe. Unfortunately, you can’t eat flowers. Potatoes sounds like a better crop to have an abundance of.


  2. I fully support your logic here and commend you on your sacrifice to consume mass quantities of French fries in an effort to save an industry. You are a real hero! I am just not sure why the potatoes would go to waste. They can be processed and frozen for long term storage, or at worst, processed and dried to make instant potatoes. Do they have an over abundance of waffles? Because that would be a real problem. Great post, Jim! You always find a little humor in everything!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks, Brad!

      Someone had to step forward…

      I’m not sure exactly what the problem is – maybe not enough space to store them.

      And if there happens to be a waffle problem while I’m there, I will certainly volunteer to help with that as well… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. you are always such a giver to the community. i think your plan is excellent and will you bring me back some of their chocolate after you rescue their potato industry?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The best response I’ve yet seen to this whole thing. Much better than injecting yourself with disinfectant – but then, you have a brain and he doesn’t 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds like a good plan to me, I love french fries too! But you keep making me hungry, yesterday it was chips and salsa, now I may have to run to McDonald’s to get some french fries!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL! True! A few years ago during a stressful time, French Fries and Hot Fudge sundaes was something I was getting a lot from McDonald’s, They were my comfort foods. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I love here Jim. I always learn something new on your blog. But I want be moving to Belgium as I’m trying to cut my carbs…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I wish I could help with the french fries, but my carbs levels would probably go into a frenzy. Your post shows how our world is really interconnected in terms of trade.

    Liked by 1 person

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