Ice cream vendors in Belgian cities increases tenfold

Ice cream vendors in Belgian cities increases tenfold
Credit: Belga/Nicolas Maeterlinck

The number of ice cream shops in Belgium has doubled in smaller towns and even increased tenfold in cities over the past ten years, according to figures by the union of independent entrepreneurs Unizo.

Due to the longer periods of warm weather, people are craving ice cream a lot more: one in three people has ice cream at least once a week during the hot summer months, a recent survey by the Flemish Center for Agro and Fisheries Marketing (VLAM) shows.

“In ten years, the number of points of sale in cities has multiplied by ten. We are also seeing a doubling in smaller municipalities," said Willy Mahaudens, who has been selling ice cream for more than 35 years, and is also a member of the association of artisanal ice cream makers, which falls under the umbrella of Bakkers Vlaanderen.

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It seems like everyone is opening some sort of shop, he told the Gazet Van Antwerpen. “Farmers start selling farm ice cream. Taverns start with Italian gelato. Ice cream trucks take to the streets. You can safely speak of an explosion."

Unizo confirms these estimations, and said that the number of ice cream shops has increased tenfold in many cities over the past decade. A possible explanation for the “explosion” is the abolition of the so-called establishment law in 2018, said Gerrit Budts of Unizo.

"Since then, a specific diploma is no longer necessary for professions such as butcher, baker, cook or caterer," he said. "This has made it easier to combine things. Ice cream in the summer, pizza in the winter."

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