The Flemish Centre for Agro and Fisheries Marketing (VLAM) launched the second annual Week of Witloof on Wednesday as it attempts to halt (and eventually reverse) the decline in the vegetable's consumption, Belga News Agency has reported.
To promote the vegetable – also known as Belgian endive or chicory – the VLAM website has published a range of relevant recipes, as well as various preparation and storage tips. Witloof-related content will also be featured on Flemish radio and Flemish Government social media channels throughout the week.
"The intention is of course that the product becomes more on the mind of the consumer all year round," explained Nele Van Avermaet, the Promotion Manager of Fruit & Vegetables at VLAM. "A festive week like this can be a stepping stone for this."
According to Flemish Government data, witloof consumption has declined 6% over the past two years, from 2.96 kilograms in 2020 to 2.78 kg in 2022.
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Chicory farmer Luc Salens from the village of Erps-Kwerps in Flemish Brabant is pleased that proper attention is finally being paid to the vegetable.
"Sometimes we look at [the witloof industry] with sad eyes," he said. "In terms of prices, for example, people in the supermarket pay three to four times more than we as farmers get from selling it. If your product can be put in the spotlight, I support it one hundred percent."
The Week of Witloof will continue until 7 February.