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‘Heartbreaking’: Belgians forced to fork out more for their cherished fries

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Belgians are having to fork out more for their favourite snack – fries, or fried potato sticks – because of rising energy, commodity and labour costs, kirjutama Bart Biesemans, Marine Strauss @StraussMarine and Johnny Cotton.

Belgium is the world’s largest exporter of fries and other frozen potato products, with 5.3 million tonnes of potatoes processed per year and sent to customers in more than 160 countries.

“Fries being such an important product for Belgium, of course, emotionally when you have an increase of 10 or 20 cents a portion it’s heartbreaking, much more than a washing machine or a pair of shoes,” Bernard Lefevre, president of the national union of makers of potato fries, told Reutersi TV.

Lisaks kõrgematele energiahindadele, mis mõjutavad peresid ja ettevõtteid peaaegu kõikjal, peavad belglased võitlema traditsiooniliselt friikartulite söömisel kasutatavate ühekordsete plastkahvlite ja taldrikute keelamisega.

Friikartulid on kujutatud "Tram de Boitsforti" stendil Brüsselis, Belgias, 4. veebruaril 2022. REUTERS/Yves Herman
Bertrand Balasi, "Tram de Boitsforti" stendi juht, valmistab friikartuleid Belgias Brüsselis 4. veebruaril 2022. REUTERS/Yves Herman

“We need gas to make fries… But you can’t fry fries with a candle,” said Lefevre, who expects prices to rise by about 10% in the coming months, after two years of little change.

Koroonaviiruse pandeemia on põhjustanud ka kastmete, sealhulgas majoneesi puudust, mida belglased peavad friikartulite söömisel kohustuslikuks.

Brüsseli vanas trammis oma kioskist friikartuleid serveeriva Bertrand Balasi jaoks on hinnatõus vältimatu.

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“There are increases in prices of lots of things – be it of fat, of potatoes, energy. So even though we know the price of fries is symbolic we might have to raise them to be able to keep selling a quality product,” Balasi told Reutersi TV.

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