Since Belgian products are often associated with a certain culinary image, Dutch shellfish company Roem from Yerseke, Zealand has introduced a label called “Belgian Quality” onto the Dutch market. Basically, this means the mussels contain big ‘fish mass’, as that’s what I imagine Belgian restaurants like to serve to their customers and is what I remember eating there.
Roem, the biggest mussel supplier in Europe, of which about 70% of their product is sold in Belgium, is sure that just like Belgian beer and pralines, the Dutch will buy Dutch mussels with a Belgian Quality label. However, there’s nothing Belgian about the mussels at all — it’s a Dutch product that’s been given an image upgrade.
When the Dutch go on about ‘Hollandse producten’ (roughly more traditional Dutch products), it has more of a comfort food factor, like ‘hagelslag’ (sprinkles), ‘drop’ (liquorice sweets) and cheese, rather than a fancy quality to it. When Dutch food companies use the word ‘luxe’ (fancy), it’s maybe fancy for the Dutch, but not at all for foreigners. Pre-cooked bread package with 3 different kinds of seeds on top for about 2 euro a bag is not much of a luxury, but it is the way certain foods are sold to the Dutch.