Belgium has always been a true potato country. The potato remains as popular as ever. Volumes are, however, under pressure. In Belgium, they can fall back on selling loose potatoes. Belgian potato company, Jansegers H, noticed the increase in sales of loose and small packs of washed potatoes in Belgium. Sales of unwashed potatoes have fallen sharply in Belgium in recent years, which is why, two years ago, the business invested in washing plants and an optical sorting machine. This was done to be able to offer both loose potatoes in crates and packaged potatoes of various quantities. This family business’ potatoes are sold mainly on wholesale markets, but recently, the company obtained BRC certification which allows them to sell their potatoes directly to retailers.
Hans Jansegers with the washing plant in the background
Nowadays, Belgian consumers like their loose potatoes clean, so they can judge the potatoes quality for themselves. “Washed potatoes have to be of a higher quality than unwashed potatoes. You easily notice green spots or blemishes on washed potatoes. That is why there is a decreasing demand for unwashed potatoes,” says Hans Jansergers.
The optical sorter sorts nice-looking potatoes from the bulk, but it can also sort according to size. Hans says: “We supply according to our clients' wishes. So, if you want potatoes that are exactly 10 cm in length and six cm wide, we can supply those. There is certainly a demand for such sizes in the hospitality industry. We do not supply them directly; we go through wholesalers who specialize in this industry.” Eventually, Jansegers wants to supply both the wholesale and retail sectors. That is why, last year, they work so hard at getting the BRC certification they now have. “We focus on quantity and quality and on sorting and packing unprocessed potatoes. When you want to peel and process too, you have to meet even more requirements.”
Potato packaging machine for 2,5kg bags
Most of the company’s current production consists of packaging 5kg all round potatoes. Waxy potatoes in 2,5kg bags are also one of the best sellers in Jansegers’ assortment. They can still deliver 25kg bags, which used to be the top sellers, but these are hardly selling these days.
5kg packs are Jansegers’ top sellers
Jansegers grow their own potatoes on a plot of 6 hectares. They also buy potatoes from other growers. An important criterion is that the potatoes are blemish-free. Jansegers works a lot with the Nicola and Charlotte varieties, but will also use other varieties if they meet the set requirements. Last year was characterized by low yields. The tight market meant potatoes were expensive. This was challenging for both purchasing and sales, says Hans.
Expectations for the coming season could not yet be made in mid-July. “The potatoes will still be in the ground for a while, so anything could still happen,” concludes Hans.
Aardappelbedrijf Jansegers H. bvba
9200 Dendermonde (België)
T 0032 (0) 476 70 20 68