Ali Karacoban, CNIPT

French potatoes’ reputation for high quality and practicality is well known. They are available in almost any form you can imagine – steamed, boiled, mashed, baked, fried, microwaveable – the aim being to meet the varied needs of different consumers around the world.

French potatoes’ main market remains Europe, but inroads are increasingly being made into the markets of Asia, the Middle East and Africa, according to Ali Karacoban of CNIPT, France’s national potato committee.

“We have the capacity to meet all different tastes and needs, so we are in a good position to be successful in the Middle East, especially in the UAE,” he said. “It is a big challenge.”

Karacoban pointed out that the UAE currently plays host to an estimated 117 nationalities, with locals representing only 10 per cent of the population.

“That means that there are a lot of different tastes to respond to,” he said. “We offer a diversified range adapted to the different needs of this market’s consumers. Quality is vital, with zero defects visible. It is important to be reliable and offer the same high quality year-round. This is aided by our quality storage from producer to consumer.”

The main strategy, he reveals, is to focus on high quality, with the aim of offering the perfect product to the UAE market.

“This is the only way to differentiate ourselves and create a strong position for French potatoes in the Emirates,” he said. “There is a lot of competition, from Egypt, Lebanon, China and India, so we have to offer a better product. And the French image of course plays an important part.”