BeNeLux Markets: It’s Not Only About Greens and Spuds

Courtesy of Ardo

The Benelux countries represent important producers, as well as consumers, of frozen vegetables and potato products, reports Jonathan Thomas

Sales of frozen foods within the two major Benelux countries remain sizeable, and have held up fairly well despite the economic uncertainty still blighting much of the EU region. Although value and volume sales remain low compared with some of the region’s larger nations (e.g. Germany, France and the UK), both Belgium and the Netherlands remain important consumers of frozen foods and, in some instances, suppliers – both countries are significant producers and exporters of frozen vegetables and frozen potato products, for example.

Sales of frozen foods within the Benelux region are heavily skewed towards mainstream retail channels, such as supermarkets and hypermarkets. In recent years, however, the popularity of the likes of Aldi and Lidl has increased as consumers trade down to cheaper groceries – for example, Aldi now operates almost 900 outlets in Belgium and the Netherlands. For the same reason, own-label products have increased their share of the frozen foods market in both countries. According to PLMA International data, own brands currently account for 42% of Belgian food sales by volume, compared with 29% in the Netherlands. Most of the leading Benelux food retailers are present in the frozen category, with Belgium’s Delhaize having established the AB Cool Food chain (which specializes in the sale of frozen foods) in Romania duri...

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