KUALA LUMPUR – Exports of frozen Belgian fries to Malaysia is expected to double over the next three years, said the Belgian potato trade and processing industry association (Belgapom).
Its Secretary-General, Romain Cools, said he was confident the target would be achieved due to the growing demand for processed potato products in Malaysia.
Last year, he said Malaysia imported 9,689 tonnes worth RM306 million of Belgian fries out of the total exports of 65,718 tonnes, making Belgium the third largest fries supplier in the local market after the United States and the Netherlands.
“This is the coming out year for Belgian fries in Southeast Asia particularly Malaysia…there’s an existing market in this region for our products and we see a bigger opportunity to expand exports here.
“I believe the Malaysian consumers are increasingly savvy and will look for new food experiences and authentic products like Belgian fries,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Food and Hotel Malaysia 2017 (FHM 2017) exhibition here, today.
He said Belgium is the largest exporter of frozen fries in the world with 90 per cent of production exported to the global market, with Malaysia ranking 11th among the export destinations outside the European Union.
Cools said he wanted to help more Belgian fries exporters increase their market share in Malaysia, apart from making the product, widely called frites in Belgium, well known in this country.
“I think a lot of people out there might have tasted or recognised our frites before but most of them thought they were American-style fries or French fries…perhaps, they do not know the origin of our fries.
“Our fries are not as long as American-style fries, apart from its golden yellow colour, unique and universally delicious…what’s more interesting, it has been recognised as intangible cultural heritage in Belgium,” he added.
Meanwhile, Cools said FHM 2017, which kicked off Tuesday until Sunday, was a great avenue for Belgian fries exporters to widen their networks and increase their share in the Malaysian market.
He said five major exporters, namely Agristo, Bart’s Potato Company, Clarebout Potatoes, Ecofrost, and Mydibel offering a wide range of halal certified potato products and specialities, were participating under the Belgian Fries Pavilion at the four-day event.
“They represent the five biggest family-owned businesses in Belgium and exported to over 100 countries worldwide. Their participation here is part of a five-nation promotion campaign in Southeast Asia coordinated by Belgium’s Flanders’ Agricultural Marketing Board and Belgapom,” he added. – BERNAMA