The potato in a nutshell

Potato consumption

Did you know that potatoes are not only very healthy for us, but they are also good for the environment? For example, the production of potatoes uses less energy, water, and land compared to the production of rice and pasta.

But what exactly is the potato and where does it come from? How about the potato consumption in The Netherlands and Belgium? In this article, you will read all about it!

What is a potato?

From a biological point of view, the potato, Solanum tuberosum, belongs to the cultivated plants. Just like tomatoes, peppers, and tobacco, they belong to the so-called nightshade family. Whereas the tomato and the bell pepper grow above ground, the potato grows below ground as a tuber. The part you see above ground is just the plant.

On average, the potato appears on our plate 3.5 times a week. In the Netherlands, the potato is classified under the category of bread and cereal products. This is where the Netherlands differs from many other countries. If you ask a French person what a potato is, chances are you will get a vegetable as your answer.

Origin of the potato

The potato originally comes from the Andes. There are many wild and cultivated varieties of the plant. These cultivated varieties fall within the Solanum Tuberosum. Discoveries from excavations have taught us that the potato already existed 13,000 years ago in a number of parts of South America. Mainly in Chile and Peru. In these countries, the potato was known as the Chunu.

The potato was brought to Europe from South America. In 1536, it was introduced to Europe by Spanish explorers. The Netherlands has been cultivating the potato in Groningen since 1640 and in Amsterdam since 1689. Compared to other countries, this is very late. In the Netherlands, the potato was not recognized as a mature food product until 1727.

Potato consumption in The Netherlands

The Netherlands is considered a real potato country. The Dutch eat 53 kilos of ‘normal’ potatoes a year. If you also add all the potato products such as crisps & fries, you end up with 81 kilos of potatoes per person per year. That does not even fit in a shopping trolley. Of these 81 kilos, approximately 9 kilos are fries. In addition to its own consumption, the Netherlands also provides for international consumers. The Netherlands has approximately 10% of the worldwide consumption-potato export.

Potato consumption Belgium

Another country where a lot of potatoes are grown is our neighbor Belgium. Within the potato production, Belgium even belongs to the top of Europe. In Belgium, the potato consumption per person per year is approximately the same. In Belgium, this amounts to approximately 80 to 85 kilos per person. Of these 80 to 85 kilos of potatoes approximately 20 kilos are eaten in fries. This is more than twice as much as in the Netherlands.

Looking for inspiration?

Haven’t you had enough of the potato after reading this blog? Would you like to know more about the potato? Then we have a number of recommendations for you. Via the link below you will find 10 very tasty recipes with potatoes. Bon appetit!

Click this link to see 10 delicious recipes!

Do you want to know more about potato processing options at Marcelissen? Please click here!