Annual report 2023

Discover our Annual Report 2023 here

Well, a lot is cooking and it is all summarized in our NEW What’s Cooking? Integrated Annual Report 2023 also including for the first time our Sustainability ambitions and CSRD performance. 

Absolutely crucial in 2023 was the launch in March of our new strategy which includes a purpose, our core strategic beliefs, the new values and last but not least a new company name to express. 

In this annual report, we dive deeper into our 6 strategic pillars to deliver Sustainable Profitable Growth for 2023 and beyond - while always putting first our must-do target of World-class Safety & Food Safety:

  1. It all starts with ‘Engaged People’: without engaged people, no strategic plan can ever be successful! 

  2. ‘Rebuild Innovation’ meaning we rejuvenated innovation in order to make a meaningful difference for our customers and consumers in these new demanding times.

  3. In ‘Portfolio Refocus’ there were and will be quite some initiatives such as adding new global heroes - besides lasagna -  to our Ready Meals portfolio, and yes, we offer consumers also vegetarian & plant-based alternatives next to our delicious meat-based foods. 

  4. ‘Grow Excellence’ underlined the continued program to improve our Operational Excellence, and deploy some activities to build also Sales & Marketing Excellence. 

  5. ‘Digital acceleration’ is a statement of the ongoing work to map and harmonize our core processes, and make them leaner, reinforced by the right and modern digital solutions & systems. 

  6. Last and surely not least is our belief to ‘Lead our industry in sustainability’ because Yes We Care’

We are proud on our 2023 achievements and look forward to deliver our 2024 journey co-building our future together with our employees, customers, suppliers and other partners.

Strategic Business Units (SBUs)

Find out how What's Cooking? is structured, which brands are a part of our Ready Meals SBU and which belong to our Savoury SBU, and where the magic happened for both core activities. 


What's Cooking? (Euronext Brussels: WHATS) is an innovative Belgian fresh foods business that markets its savoury food in multiple European countries

The group has two core activities: savoury cold cuts, snacks and freshly prepared ready meals. It has 11 industrial sites in Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Poland and the United Kingdom and employs approximately 2500 employees. What's Cooking? generated a turnover of EUR 832 million in 2023. 

SBU Ready Meals

  • Produces freshly prepared ready meals for the European market

  • Market leader in freshly prepared lasagne in Europe

  • 2 specialised production sites in Belgium (Wanze and Marche-en-Famenne), 1 in France (Mézidon-Vallée d'Auge), 1 in Poland (Opole) and 1 in the United Kingdom (Deeside)

  • Brand names Come a casa®, Vamos® and Stefano Toselli® in addition to private labels

  • Employs about 1350 people


SBU Savoury

  • Producer and slicer of savoury products for Benelux, UK and Germany

  • 2 production sites in Belgium (Wommelgem and Lievegem) and 1 in The Netherlands (Borculo)

  • 5 centres for packaging and slicing of savoury products: 3 in Belgium (Wommelgem, Lievegem and Veurne) and 2 in The Netherlands (Wijchen and Ridderkerk)

  • Innovating in the pre-packaged savoury products segment

  • Private labels and own brands Pluma®, Daniël Coopman®

  • Employs about 1115 people


Environmental and social governance

In 2022, ESG was high on our agenda. Read all about the changes we introduced up to that point to tackle the environmental aspect of sustainability as well as its social component.


The sustainability strategy of What’s Cooking? is built around three pillars:

Screenshot 2023-04-21 at 09.08.26

1. Good food for all

By changing the name of our ‘processed meats’ segment to ‘savoury’ (NL: ‘savory’), we are emphasizing how eager we are to add more vegetarian and plant-based products to our range. More specifically, we aim to make 15% of our volume plant-based or vegetarian by 2030. We believe that with a wide range of affordable products and the right information, we can help consumers eat healthily and in a balanced way. As a food company, we care very much about food safety and quality. It is our reason for existence. In addition to being safe and quality, we want our products to be as nutritious as possible.

2. Protect our planet

To combat climate change, we want to significantly reduce our carbon footprint by 2030. Therefore, from 2024 we will only use 100% green electricity. Because global warming also affects water scarcity, we want to use 30% less water per ton of finished product as of 2030 (compared to 2022). In addition, we want to reduce our food product waste by 20% from 2024 (also compared to 2022). The waste we cannot avoid will be recycled as much as possible.

We also want to use as little plastic and packaging material as possible in general, without sacrificing hygiene and shelf life, and without increasing food waste. To be continued!

Whenever possible, What’s Cooking? chooses local suppliers. We buy most of our ingredients in Europe and use 100% RSPO-certified palm oil. In addition, we have an eye for animal welfare. We work closely with our suppliers to implement better farming practices, we only use free-range eggs in our dishes and prefer sustainably caught or farmed fish with an ASC or MSC label.

3. Help people flourish

The safety of our staff is our priority: at executive committee meetings, safety scores are always the first item on the agenda. Our Environment, Health & Safety (SHE) system assesses how our various sites score and helps them improve in this regard. In addition, the engagement index measures the commitment of our staff and examines where there is room for improvement. As of 2028, we aim for an average engagement rate of no less than 80%.

At What’s Cooking? we are committed to the overall well-being and mental health of our employees. Hence our various initiatives across our various sites, such as the Employee Assistance Program, Mental Health Awareness Week and our partnership with Mindlab.

We have a code of conduct for our suppliers. This ensures that the human rights of everyone in the value chain are respected. Our Supplier Sustainability Rating Program focuses on both social and environmental criteria.


Greenhouse gas emissions

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges today. We too want to do our part to slow down global warming by reducing our carbon footprint. Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions were calculated according to the standard values of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG).

Scope 1 includes direct emissions from sources we own or operate, such as our fixed and mobile combustion plants, as well as process and fugitive emissions. Scope 2 includes indirect emissions released from the generation of purchased electricity. These are two emission groups that What’s Cooking? can directly affect.

Finally, there is Scope 3. This includes all emissions in our value chain for which we as an organization are indirectly responsible. Consider emissions from purchased goods and services, upstream and downstream transportation, corporate waste, employee commuting, business travel, the use and end-of-life of our products, ...

What’s Cooking? aims to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50% by the end of 2030 compared to 2021. Therefore, from 2023 we will use 50% green energy and from 2024 it will be 100%. A handful of energy efficiency projects are already underway or planned for the coming years. The “Master Plan Cooling” will significantly reduce fugitive emissions as harmful refrigerants are replaced. From the end of 2023, about 30% of our company vehicle fleet will be electric, which means far fewer emissions.

In 2023, we are committed to an engagement program for our suppliers. With this, we encourage them to share information about their own footprint and then set reduction targets.

Multidisciplinary product development

Providing healthier, more sustainable, and animal-friendly products for the consumer? That’s not a new concern for What's Cooking? either, of course. Read our Business Development & Export Manager Greet Van Laecke’s 2022 thoughts on multidisciplinary product and concept development. 


Stronger Together: multidisciplinary product- and concept development makes the difference.

E.S.G. or Environmental and Social Governance at What’s Cooking? also drove our attention to providing healthier, more sustainable and animal-friendly products for the consumer.



As a large producer, we take our responsibility. We want to become more sustainable every day in everything we do. Our New Business Development department takes a proactive look at what’s happening in the market, how eating habits change and, above all, how we can become and remain relevant to consumers through innovation.

New products

Our R&D and NPD experts create new products in multidisciplinary teams, because these types of projects naturally transcend our product categories. It gives me great pleasure to see with how much passion and enthusiasm they all try to make a difference – and how they succeed in doing so together, time and time again.

The themes that concern R&D and NPD most today also concern society. Think of the shift to alternative proteins, the sustainability of our raw materials, the fight against food waste, ...

A constant in our developments is the improvement of nutritional values, better known as NutriScore. We are actively working on reducing the salt and fat content in our products to improve the overall score and composition. With this approach, we have already improved the composition of a considerable part of our product portfolio. This gives our developers a double challenge: to strive for a better composition, without compromising on taste! In addition to NutriScore optimisation, food safety is a permanent concern for our technologists, who have built up industry-leading expertise in this field.

Within the framework of corporate social responsibility, we are always actively working, in consultation with our customers, on increasing the use of more sustainable and animal-friendly specifications. A recent case involved the complete conversion of poultry products into the animal friendly “better-life” alternative.

New trends in packaging and nutrition; such as plant-based concepts and products & the use of alternative, plant-based proteins; are a constant source of inspiration for our innovation strategy.

Continuously indulging our consumers with our healthy, innovative, socially responsible products drives us every day.