Noma. The Alchemist. Geranium. Denmark has long established itself as a major player in global gastronomy with landmark restaurants reinventing the concept of fine dining. Danish restaurants alone hold a total of 35 Michelin stars. And New Nordic cuisine has reframed the culinary conversation around seasonal ingredients all the while revolutionizing taste.
But while Denmark is now widely renowned as a foodie destination, it is also the capital of a lesser known but equally important element related to the food world: ingredients. In fact, Denmark supplies more food ingredients per citizen than any other country in the world, contributing to the development of the ingredients of tomorrow to meet the world’s growing demand for safe, healthy and sustainable food.
To discover more about Denmark’s role in this obscure corner of the food world, Denmark In New York spoke to Invest In Denmark’s Business Developer Rhitpal Kaur Randhawa and Investment Manager Lasse Gudnitz for their insights into Denmark’s role in defining taste and and how American food companies can benefit from the ‘capital of flavor.’
Denmark In New York: Tell us a little bit about how Denmark has emerged as a global leader in the food sector and what it brings to the table when we speak about ingredients.
Rhitpal Kaur Randhawa & Lasse Gudnitz: Denmark has one of the most innovative food sector in the EU, and is recognized as a global leader within ingredients. With a world-market share of 14%, Denmark is home to the World’s leading international ingredients companies who export 98% of the ingredients produced. The Danish Food sector is a centuries-old success story about getting the best out of the resources provided by nature — and by science. It is a story of continuous development and innovation leading to a sector reaching far beyond the borders of Denmark.
Denmark takes great pride in its ability to innovate: it’s the most digitized country in Europe; it’s a global leader in green energy; and it’s a pioneer in sustainability. In this sense, how has innovation played a role in defining the Danish food sector and shaped its contribution to the global food industry?
Rhitpal Kaur Randhawa: The growing need for healthy and nutritious food products is top of mind for the Danish food ingredients industry — as it is for the consumers. The Danish tradition for healthy and organic high quality products have naturally extended into a strong focus on natural food and natural ingredients. Denmark is considered a global frontrunner in areas such as enzymes, emulsifiers, cultures, natural food colors, flavors and whey protein.
Food producers as well as ingredients companies invest heavily in research, development and new production methods to produce healthy alternatives to standard foods that do not fail on sensory quality — but taste, look and feel like the original products.
Consumers’ eating habits, attitudes, priorities, and behaviours are shifting significantly as people become increasingly health conscious. How are ingredients companies responding to consumer demands for healthy foods in today’s global market?
Lasse Gudnitz: All over the world, consumers are increasingly looking for authentic and clean-label food made of natural and health-promoting ingredients as the fundamental idea of linking diet and health is becoming mainstream. These tendencies have been even more evident during the global COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result created a massive consumer demand for healthy food.
As a partner to the Danish food and ingredients cluster, you can tap into the unique Danish way of developing new and innovative food ingredients for healthy food products. Denmark has very easy access to the authorities, who work closely with companies to ensure that establishment and operation run as smoothly as possible. By being geographically well-positioned in Europe and Scandinavia, your customers are well within reach.
With a broad scope including diverse sectoral actors that overlap in the specialty ingredients industry, including, chemicals, agriculture, and life sciences, the Danish ingredients industry is dedicated to supplying high-standard natural, nutritious and health-promoting ingredients for the food of tomorrow.
Denmark’s role as a global leader in the green economy means that it can offer a well-established foundation for environmentally-friendly production facilities, high resource efficiency and minimal pollution. How does this green and sustainable bedrock translate to the food sector industry?
Rhitpal Kaur Randhawa: The Danish food sector is one of the most sustainable and environmentally friendly in the world. Danish food production is characterized by the ability to produce with minimal pollution, high resource efficiency and a small carbon footprint. Denmark excels by being able to produce more with less — and saving money at the same time. A cost-efficient production with a strong focus on turning waste streams into new high-value products is a trademark of the Danish food cluster. As the Danish standards are high and regulations strict, compliance with Danish standards and regulations means compliance with the rest of Europe. Food and ingredients produced in Denmark according to Danish regulations are ready for export to the remaining countries of the EU.
On November 10th, Invest In Denmark will be hosting a webinar on how US companies can benefit from Danish successes in the food sector. What can attendees expect from this webinar?
Lasse Gudnitz: Join us at our webinar to hear more about the Danish success and how American food ingredients companies can benefit from working together with the Danish ingredients industry. Get a taste of the ingredients of tomorrow that will meet the world’s growing demand for safe, healthy and sustainable food. We serve you a delicious menu of information and selected industry cases such as Chr. Hansen and the Danish Food Authority.
Sign up for Invest in Denmark’s Ingredients for Healthy Food webinar here.
Andrew Zaganelli Giacalone is the Head of Strategic Communications and Press at Denmark In New York.