Long live the Bitterbal!

100th anniversary

The bitterbal, a Dutch round and golden brown snack, is crispy on the outside and delicious on the inside. Typically eaten with mustard, the name of the bitterbal stems from its traditional pairing with a strong alcoholic herbal drink called “bitter.” Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, the bitterbal has been enjoyed in Dutch restaurants and bars in various sizes and shapes. We were wondering: is it still as popular today? And which bitterbal is the most favoured? In honour of the snack’s centennial, we’ve combined our insights from nearly 700 Dutch consumers with data from the Market Monitor to answer all your questions about the beloved bitterbal.

Indispensable in the Dutch hospitality industry

It may seem like the bitterbal is an essential part of the Dutch Out Of Home industry, but is it really? According to the Roamler market monitor, 53,5% of all restaurants and bars in the country serve bitterballen. It is no surprise that when we asked the Roamler community about their favourite terrace snack, 46% of respondents chose the bitterbal. This makes it the clear favourite. In second place is the cheese stick, which is favoured by 18% of respondents.

Outside the Netherlands

It is clear that the bitterbal is a favorite snack in the Netherlands, but is it popular in other countries? While croquettas are a beloved snack in Spain, we won’t count them. However, our data shows that bitterballen are offered in a significant number of restaurants outside of the Netherlands. In fact, there are 403 restaurants and bars that have them on their menu in Belgium, and several other locations across Europe where they are also served.

No vega trend

While vegetarian snacks are gaining popularity, our community seems to have a clear preference for beef bitterbal (66%), followed by veal (14%). The vegetarian cheese bitterbal is a favourite of 10% of Dutch consumers.

The winning combinations

The bitterbal, a Dutch snack, is typically served with either mustard or mayonnaise, though opinions on the matter are divided. To settle the debate, we asked the Roamler community to share their preferred combination. Surprisingly, 60% of respondents favored the classic pairing with mustard, while a few others suggested alternative options like chili sauce, BBQ sauce, or ketchup. As for beverages, while bitter was originally the traditional drink of choice, a majority (45%) of our community now prefer to enjoy their bitterbal with a soft drink. Beer (30%) and wine (20%) were the second and third most popular choices, respectively.


Would you like to know which outlets best suit the bitterbal or another product or brand in the Out of Home market? Connect with one of our specialists to discover how utilising accurate data can enhance your market efficiency.

  • 674 app users in the Netherlands participated.