Exports of Beer, Chips from the Netherlands and Belgium

tendata blogTrade Trends News

ten data blog29-03-2024

The Netherlands is the largest exporter of beer in the EU (exports in 2023: €2 billion), closely followed by Belgium (€1.7 billion). In terms of frozen potato products, Belgium is the largest exporter in the EU (exports: €3.4 billion), with the Netherlands in second place (€1.6 billion). The largest exporter of chocolate in the EU is neither Belgium (second with €3.7 billion) nor the Netherlands (fourth with €2.5 billion), but Germany (€5.8 billion).

Most Dutch beers are exported to the USA, while Belgian beers are mainly exported to France and the Netherlands. Belgian fries are common in both the UK and France, while Dutch fries are most popular in the UK. Belgian chocolate is most popular in the Netherlands, while Dutch chocolate is most popular in Germany.

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Exports of Belgian fries have more than doubled in the last two years

The value of Belgian exports of frozen potato products, of which about four fifths are French fries, has more than doubled since 2021. This is due to a 12% increase in production (partly due to new production facilities, some of which are owned by Dutch companies), while export prices have almost doubled. Dutch exports of frozen potato products actually declined by 5% during this period. Until 2018, the Netherlands exceeded Belgium in terms of exports, but since then the gap with Belgium has steadily widened. In absolute terms, Belgium's exports of French fries to neighboring countries grew the fastest, but in percentage terms, exports to countries like Saudi Arabia, Australia and South Africa grew even faster.

Dutch beer exports have outpaced Belgium for decades

When it comes to beer, the Netherlands has consistently exported more than Belgium since the first comparison was made in 1988. However, Dutch beer's lead over Belgian beer has been shrinking recently. In recent years, Dutch beer sales to France, South Africa and Paraguay have been on the rise.

Belgium replaced the Netherlands as a chocolate exporter in 1991 and has exceeded the Netherlands in chocolate exports every year since. In recent years, Belgium's chocolate exports to the Netherlands have grown the fastest; meanwhile, Dutch chocolate exports to Germany have increased the most.

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Belgium is the main supplier of chocolate and beer to the Netherlands

38% of the total chocolate imported into the Netherlands comes from Belgium (total value: €459 million). In the category of vegetables and root vegetables (including potatoes and potato products), more than a third (35%) of Dutch imports come from Belgium. For alcoholic beverages, 19% of Dutch imports come from Belgium. By far the most important product in this category is beer, with a 58% share.

In the first three quarters of 2023, the Netherlands imported food and beverages worth a total of EUR 44.6 billion, of which EUR 7 billion (16%) came from Belgium. Only Germany had a larger share, amounting to €8.8 billion.

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