Kipco-Damaco wins Export Lion award 2022

Pride, gratitude and lasting ambition 

The Export Lion award 2022 rewards again the crème de la crème of the Flemish export world. Kipco-Damaco now fits into that list. The company from Oostrozebeke in West Flanders won the award in the category "companies with more than 50 employees". "We see the Lion as an award for every employee, as an appreciation of our common ambition and as an extra incentive to continue on our chosen path," said CEO Paul Larmuseau.

Praise from the jury

The jury report singled out the strong growth of exports as a plus point, as well as the strong expansion of the network of foreign sales offices. The jury also considered it important that Kipco-Damaco always manages to integrate itself sustainably into the local culture and economy, by delivering tailor-made solutions in particular. The members of the jury were also charmed by the close relationship with the head office and the commitment of the local sales people. Indeed, local sales people regularly want to establish themselves temporarily or even permanently in the foreign sales offices.

Unexpected honor

In a first reaction, Kipco-Damaco owner Iris Vandaele expresses surprise, but is of course particularly delighted and also respectful towards the other nominees. "Being nominated was unexpected for us and already an exceptional honor. We had to compete against strong candidates who are obviously worthy of each other. Different products, different industry, different emphases, but at the core: all with the same drive and commitment. ‘Durven, doen en blijven deuregoan' (‘Daring, doing, and perseverate’) is how I often summarize our motto, but that motto applies to many others as well."

The participation in the Export Lion originated from the Olympic idea 'participating is more important than winning'. Paul Larmuseau: "But gradually the ambition and commitment grew, and after the nomination the tension just kept rising. The fact that we won this neck-and-neck race is gratifying, and is an extra incentive to continue along the same path." 

Growth remains the ambition

"The Export Lion award shows that the course we have been taking with Kipco-Damaco since 1964 is the only right one, also in the field of exports. We call ourselves a start-up with more than half a century on the counter. We still have an open mind, are fresh and enthusiastic and keep on reinventing ourselves. This is how we continue to grow, from a solid group to a global player. Our ambition is to serve our customers as well as possible all over the world. It's fantastic that this is now being officially remunerated with an important award." Co-owner Bruno Vandaele puts it this way: "Our focus has evolved from product to solution, from selling to stimulating growth." In addition to its technological know-how and solution-oriented attitude, Kipco-Damaco's most important asset might be its network strength. The company well masters the unique relational aspect of this international business, where warm and direct contact and appropriate customer support make all the difference. Kipco-Damaco calls it 'learning by doing': gradually adjusting and perfecting processes through experience.

Thanks to everyone

Paul Larmuseau expressly wishes to thank everyone inside and outside the company. "All employees in the first place, without whose help and commitment this would never have succeeded. But also the people of Flanders Investment & Trade and the members of the jury for the extra tips, the valuable support and especially the instructive feedback." A word of encouragement for the other candidates and nominees is not missing either. "We wish them every success in their future projects, and especially that Flanders may continue to distinguish itself abroad."

Company structure: 3 business units

Founded in 1964, Kipco-Damaco has since grown into a large international group, Damaco Group, headquartered in Oostrozebeke, West Flanders, and with 3 business units. The first business unit (food processing) produces chicken separator meat for further processing into, among other things, cooking sausages and various frying snacks. So there is a good chance that the chicken in your favourite deep-frying snack or cooked sausage is produced at Kipco-Damaco. The second business unit (food distribution) trades frozen vegetables, meat, fish and French fries for the retail and foodservice segments. The third business unit (nutrient science) focuses on the extraction of by-products from poultry production. These are processed into functional building blocks for aquaculture and food and feed producers, among others.

Worldwide network

Not with standing its size, it is still a family business, with Iris and Bruno Vandaele as 2nd generation owners. In 2018, 72% of sales came from exports, by 2021 this had risen to 83%, with a significant portion coming from non-EU markets. The producer has a network of its own sales offices in Singapore, Brazil, India, China and Vietnam, among others. In addition to the headquarters in Oostrozebeke, there are production sites in Poland and France. There have never been any takeovers: it has always been a question of organic growth. Kipco-Damaco combines its local market knowledge from the sales offices with its specialized know-how to look, together with the customer, at how the meat processing process can be adapted in function of their semi-finished product. With 21 nationalities within the company, Kipco-Damaco calls itself a real chameleon: Flemish sure, but also international. "Global presence, local service" perfectly sums up the vision. Kipco-Damaco also resolutely chooses a circular and sustainable course, including through innovative production processes whereby residual streams such as bone and feather meal are returned to the food chain.


  • Location: Oostrozebeke
  • Number of employees: 56 full-time equivalents (Belgium)
  • Turnover (2021): € 99.599.544,38
  • Export share of turnover (2021): 83%
  • Non-EU countries share of exports: 62%


Would you like more information about Kipco-Damaco?

Contact An-Marie Follens (Marketing Manager)

+32 479 82 10 59

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