Belgians are being asked to perform an unusual — and delicious — civic duty to help their fellow countrymen.
The task? Eating more French fries.
It’s a request that comes from the nation’s potato industry, which, according to CNBC, fears it could waste as many as 750,000 tons of food as a result of the global health crisis.
Romain Cools, secretary general of the Belgian potato industry group Belgapom, told the outlet that sales of frozen potatoes — which account for around 75 percent of the industry — have dropped steeply during the crisis. It’s a problem that, according to Cools, could be mitigated by customers eating frozen fries “twice a week.”
“We’re working with supermarkets to see whether we can launch a campaign asking Belgians to do something for the sector by eating fries — especially frozen fries — twice a week during the coronavirus crisis,” Cools told CNBC. “What we are trying to do is to avoid food waste, because every lost potato is a loss.”
Cools’ concern is not unique to Belgium. As restaurants stay closed and consumers stick to stick to essential goods at home, farmers around the world are being forced to waste their crops.
The New York Times reported that in the U.S., for example, dairy farmers are dumping around 3.7 million gallons of milk per day. A farmer in Idaho was even forced to bury 1 million pounds of now-useless onions.
“People don’t make onion rings at home,” Shay Myers, a third-generation onion farmer told the New York Times.
Belgium’s situation seemed manageable to some, though. Cools’ request immediately went viral on social media, with fry obsessives from around the offering to help.
“Who’s moving to Belgium with me?” one Twitter user asked.
Others, meanwhile suggested the country find other uses for its potato excess.
“Someone should tell them about vodka,” another user wrote.
If you liked this story, check out In The Know’s article on how Finnish supermarkets are testing out hands-free doors.
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