The war in Ukraine has had a disastrous impact on Europe’s economy in the form of price hikes on basic foods such as cereals and bread, the result of EU sanctions on Russia. Now, a Belgian gastronomic symbol could be impacted by the conflict: the country’s famous fries.
“If a cone of fries currently costs €2.5, it could go up to €3,” warned Bernard Lefèvre from Navefri in Le Soir, a union representing the interests of the deep frying sector.
Prices are rising due to the soaring cost of the oil and fats used in fryers. Industry buyers are paying three to four times the normal price. But that isn’t the only part of the dish that is in trouble.
“There is also a shortage of sauces – they are very difficult to find,” explained Dirk Melis of Melis Events, a catering company.
Ukraine is a major producer of frying oil, but for now Lefèvre doesn’t believe that there is an immediate risk of shortage.
Across the EU, inflation soared to 8.1% in April 2022, up from 7.8% in March. In 2021, the rate of inflation was 2.0%, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
Inflation rates vary according to country, but it has soared to 9.3% for Belgium in April, higher than the EU average.