Food company What's Cooking? faces food shortage struggles

East Flanders food company What's Cooking? is struggling to obtain enough tomatoes to prepare its lasagnes.

The company is a major consumer of tomatoes and other vegetables such as peppers and aubergines, which are part of the lasagnes and other ready-to-eat meals it makes.

The company is overwhelmed with "stress to buy enough tomatoes", CEO, Piet Sanders said. "The reason is the big drought in southern Europe last year and this year. The times when you could buy large volumes without worries are over. For us, that is a concern."

The group is looking outside Europe to buy tomatoes for the first time, as the shortages affect production. "We haven't had to shut down factories yet, but we have to revise schedules."

Sanders says raw pork is also a cause for concern as the price has doubled in recent years and is currently at a record high. "There is less volume, partly because of the nitrogen issue. Being a farmer today is not an easy job," Sanders says. "In my opinion, a structural reduction in supply is coming."

What's Cooking? had a turnover of 781 million euros and a profit of 4.5 million euros in 2022. It was on track to take over competitor Imperial but had to shelve plans after objections from competition authorities.



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