The three major Dutch producers of processed and packaged potatoes are Peka Kroef, CêlaVita and Quickly. Peka, by far the largest, is also relatively unknown by the general public. This is probably because of its wholesale activities, but change is coming: Peka is venturing on consumer territory with the introduction of two retail products, Peka Naturel en Peka Cuisine.
It’s possibly moves like these that have kept the companies afloat. “The market for processed and pre-cooked potatoes has increased enormously in the last 10 years,” says Albert van der Vlies of Peka Kroef. “The potato, in fact, is making a comeback. Mostly, I think, because producers keep finding ways to rejuvenate the potato; find new methods to reintroduce the potato to the public. That way, the market doesn’t really shrink.”
As a matter of fact, if there’s anything that could be considered a threat to the industry, it’s not the consumer market, but the struggle over raw materials. That, at least, is what Van der Vlies thinks. “Competition won’t be so much about requiring a market share, but about buying quality potatoes for a reasonable price. Every supplier of processed food needs the basic materials.”
Quickly Bestsellers in Hedel also doesn’t necessarily see a problem with the crisis. “Potatoes keep doing well in times of crisis,” according to Peter Quik. “It’s not a luxury item, quite the contrary, in times of need people will revert back to the traditional potato as a primary food source. The processed potato simply takes away a step in the preparation. It is still a cheap alternative.”