The losers in Denmark’s beer battle have so far been the imported speciality beers where sales are either stagnating or dropping. Growth in wine consumption in Denmark has similarly levelled out.
AMONG THE WORLD’S TOP 20
REAL HANDMADE: Chosen from among more than 50,000 beers, Ølfabrikken’s Porter ranks 20th of the best beers in the world, according to ratebeer.com. And from 5,500 breweries, Ølfabrikken is ranked 28th.
When Christian Skovdal Andersen at Ølfabrikken microbrewery says that all their beers are brewed by hand, he means it literally. The water comes directly from the tap. It is pure, hard groundwater which is well suited for Ølfabrikken’s dark, hoppy beer. The ingredients, malt and hops, as well as the various spices that are used, are tipped into the vessel for mashing without any form of automatics. Everything is done manually, all the way to filling the bottles, labelling and packing in boxes.
“From the beginning in 2004, we have aimed to make beers as natural as possible,” says Andersen. “We interfere as little as possible and let the beer develop by itself. For example, we do not pasteurize or filter. No carbon dioxide is added since the secondary fermentation which happens in the bottles or in the barrel creates carbon AMONG THE WORLD’S TOP 20 dioxide naturally. Nor do we add foaming agents, finings, colorants or preservatives.”
Ølfabrikken is one of the few breweries in northern Europe where all beers are fermented without temperature control.
“According to traditional brewing wisdom it should be impossible,” says Christian Skovdal Andersen. “Nonetheless, we do not interfere with the course of nature, although our buildings help by keeping the temperature relatively constant. But I have to admit that on occasions we have tipped away a whole brew because we thought it was not good enough.”
On the way to the USA
Ølfabrikken brews 120,000 litres of beer annually, and for the time being there are no plans to expand.
“120,000 litres is an extremely small part of beer production in Denmark. But rather a little which is good than a lot which is bad. We simply do not want to compromise the quality and taste. These are beers for human beings, made by human beigs.”
The small brewery, which is located in the centre of one of Denmark’s most popular holiday towns, has already been praised by beer enthusiasts all over the world. On the international website ratebeer.com, Ølfabrikken has been rated 28th of 5,500 breweries worldwide. And Ølfabrikken’s Porter is currently ranked 20th of 50,000 beers rated by the site. The high ranking has led to the microbrewery’s first export order: A barrel of Ølfabrikken’s Porter has found its way to connoisseurs in the US, and the brewery is contacted daily by beer enthusiasts wanting to buy.
“That is actually our biggest problem. We cannot brew anything like as much as we can sell,” says Andersen. “But that is how it is, because we stay faithful to our original idea of brewing taste experiences that test the boundaries. It is low technology brewing, and a love of genuinely hand brewed beers.”
LURPAK – EXPENSIVE, BUT ENJOYABLE
BUTTER EXPORT: Danish butter is expensive in Australia, but consumers love it for its good taste
Europe’s largest dairy group, Danish-Swedish Arla, whose products include the world renowned Lurpak butter, is currently witnessing a veritable boom in sales of butter to Australia. The dairy group forecasts a tripling of sales of Lurpak to the market down under in 2006 compared to 2005.
“Since Lurpak costs three times as much as the local butter, our customers didn’t think that Lurpak stood a chance. But the good taste has won them over, as well as Australian consumers,” says head of sales Lars Møller Henriksen at Arla Foods’ office in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.
Lurpak entered the Australian market for the first time in 2005, where it was marketed through the Woolworth store chain. Now Lurpak has leaped onto the shelves of Woolworth’s competitor Coles. The two stores account for about 80% of the retail trade in Australia, which has a population of approx. 17 million people. Lurpak’s taste for success is expected to result in sales of approx. 300 tons in 2006, compared to 100 tons in 2005.
“Although that is not a lot in volume terms, it represents profitable business for us,” says Lars Møller Henriksen. “Now we are building a warehouse and a wellfunctioning distribution system. We will also concentrate our efforts on new store campaigns and advertisements in lifestyle magazines such as Vogue so that even more consumers will become aware of Lurpak.” Arla Foods’ exports to Australia were initiated after consumers started e-mailing the international website http://www.lurpak.com to ask where they could buy Lurpak in Australia. Arla Foods found an importer who got Lurpak into a number of independent stores and places such as the fish market in Sydney. From there Lurpak has spread across the entire continent.
DANISH MALT FOR ALL THE WORLD’S BEER
BEER BREWING: Nowhere else does barley grow better than in Denmark. And since barley is the best cereal for beer brewing, Denmark has become a large exporter of quality malt barley
In some places in the world, the climate is better for growing rice, in others for sugar cane and others again for barley. Neither rice nor sugar cane grow well in Denmark. But barley does, and that is one of the reasons why Denmark is among the world giants in beer brewing. Beer requires malt, and the best malt is made from Danish malt barley which is exported to most of the world. From the Asahi breweries in Japan and the Caribbean to Becks in Germany. And the exporter is the local Fuglsang Brewery in Haderslev, Denmark. In addition to brewing beer for the local region, the Fuglsang family also runs Denmark’s largest malt factory with production in Haderslev and Thisted.
“The vast majority of more than 150,000 tonnes annually is exported,” says director Kim Fuglsang. “That corresponds to about 3 billion bottles of beer. Although Danes are beer drinkers, they practice moderation, so only 15% of our production is used in Denmark, where by and large all breweries are purchasers. The other 85% is exported to most of the world.”
A normal harvest in Denmark produces around 3 million tonnes of spring barley, most of which is used for pig feed. But some farmers are specialising in growing malt barley which is highly suited to the climate. Danish malt barley yields a relatively low protein content and correspondingly higher content of starch, which is part of defining quality malt barley.
“It is a basic, low-tech product that has been made in the same way for centuries,” says Kim Fuglsang. “The reason why we have grown to our large size and are approved by breweries throughout the world, is solely because of our quality and ability to meet the requirements of the various breweries for their special mixtures. It requires craftsmanship and understanding of the living organism of malt barley. Of course we use the latest technology, including high-tech measuring equipment and automated production equipment. But the feeling in the fingertips which comes from long experience cannot be simulated by computers. That needs real people.”
As Kim Fuglsang puts it, the malt master’s “ability to read life in the germination box,” is what decides the quality. When the barley comes from the farmer’s cereal stock it is cleaned, sorted and filled into large vessels where it is soaked. The wet barley is then pumped into germination boxes, where over five days enzymes are created which convert the starch into sugar. After the germination, the barley is moved into large malt kilns – gigantic drying devices-–where warm air is blown through the malt It is this drying process which decides the type of malt that results.
Fuglsang Malt Factory produces three main types of malt: the light lager malt, the slightly darker Münchner malt and the deep red Wiener malt. Within the three main groups there are many variants, which through mixing help to create the beers that breweries want to make.
“Good beer is determined by four ingredients and a skilful master brewer,” says Kim Fuglsang. “The ingredients are water, hops, yeast and malt. And it is how the master brewer uses them that makes the difference. He uses his own specific mixture depending on the type of beer he wants to create.” At the factory the various types of malt are stored in 50 different silos from where the finished malt is mixed carefully according to customer needs.
Turning waste heat to good use
Fuglsang Malt Factory has managed to stay competitive in the tough malt market, mostly on quality but also on price. A contributory factor is the company’s exploitation of energy from the factories’ power stations which supply electricity to over 4,000 households in Haderslev and 12,000 in Thisted. In addition, the surplus heat from electricity production is used for drying the malt.
“From time to time we ask ourselves whether we are in the malt and brewing industry, or in the energy industry,” says managing director Kim Fuglsang, Fuglsang Malt Factory. “In reality we are in both. Drying the germinating malt is very energy demanding. That led to the inauguration of our second gas fired power station in 2004, which supplies electricity to the national grid. It has become such good business that we last year earned more by supplying electricity than by making malt. But it also means that we can stay competitive in malt production.”
...After the germination, the barley is moved into large malt kilns – gigantic drying devices – where warm air is blown through the malt...
SUGAR IS GOOD...IN MODERATION
CONCENTRATES: The addition of sugar is often necessary to make fruit and berry concentrates palatable. A Danish company concentrates fruits and berries for export worldwide, and the organic trend has encouraged it to conduct product development using natural fruit sugar.
Sugar in food is frequently regarded as the main troublemaker by consumers in the industrialised world. But that is unfair, says Jens Ferdinand, managing director of Sunprojuice, a producer of concentrates and purees from berries and fruits. Sugar just has to be used the right way. Then it is a wonderful taste lifter.
“Sugar is good in many foods, but naturally it needs to be used prudently,” says Jens Ferdinand. “Especially in our products, sugar is often an unavoidable necessity, because the acid level in many berries and fruits is so high that the juice concentrates would taste too sour after concentration. So sugar needs to be added either to the concentrate itself or to the finished product to which we supply the concentrate.” The consumer trend for less sugar has nonetheless encouraged Sunprojuice to venture into product development projects where natural fruit sugar is used instead of ordinary sugar.
“We are working on fruit juice sweetened with fruit sugar instead of ordinary sugar,” says Jens Ferdinand. “So far the results are very positive although in my personal opinion, fruit sugar still cannot compete with sucrose on either taste or price. But I believe that the product will be really good, and will satisfy increasing consumer demands. It is healthier and has a signal value which consumers respond to.” Sunprojuice is among the Nordic region’s largest producers of organic and conventional juice concentrates, as well as purees of berries and fruits. The juice concentrates and purees are made from bilberry, blackcurrant, blackberry, cranberry, elderberry, lingonberry, raspberry, sour cherry, strawberry etc. These are purchased from Danish and foreign fruit growers and are pressed and concentrated at the company’s brand new factory in Sorø, Denmark. Customers are juice factories, breweries, food manufacturers, ice cream producers and restaurant chains all over the world.
“We export around 95% of our production, mainly to Europe, but also as far as Australia and a number of markets in Asia where we for instance sell blackcurrant concentrate. Blackcurrant is a typical Nordic product which is difficult to grow in other places. In Japan, Korea and Hong Kong consumers are prepared to pay for the relatively expensive product because it is top quality.”
Sunprojuice is also seeing a trend towards more organic products, especially from consumers in south European countries where sales of the company’s organic berry and fruit concentrates are recording growth rates of more than 20% annually.
“Our growing consumption of organic cane sugar led to us importing sugar ourselves. Then we began to sell the sugar, and today we are the largest importer of organic sugar in Scandinavia.”
A DANISH DROP IN THE WORLD’S WINE LAKE
VINICULTURE: People call it ’Chateau d’Avedore’ – on the bottle it says Nordlund. It is the first genuine Danish red wine, from a vineyard in the village of Avedøre close to Copenhagen. But producing wine in Denmark will always be stretching the limits of what is possible.
Let’s say it up front: Regarding wine production, Denmark will never be a serious competitor to France, Italy, Spain or any other wine producing country. With a growing area totalling just 10 hectares and an annual production of 20,000 bottles, Denmark’s output is a drop in the world’s wine lake.
Nonetheless, in 2004 the leading Danish vineyard Nordlund exported its first pallet of 2003 vintage to one of France’s premier wine dealers, Negociant Schuyler-Schröder in Bordeaux. And experienced wine tasters have assessed several Danish wines to be worthy of an honourable mention. To some it is already a cult, while to others it represents a serious investment opportunity.
“We are infinitesimally small in the overall picture. And we will continue to be almost invisible in terms of quantity,” says Søren Beck, co-owner and spokesman for Dansk Vincenter, which produces Nordlund. “But quantity is not the key issue. To us, producing wine is a passion, where we are stretching the limits of what is possible at our degree of latitude, through research and cultivation.”
Dansk Vincenter conducts research into different varieties of grape which can grow in the relatively cool Danish climate, as well as development of root types and root systems.
“So far we have produced three vintages of 85% Rondo and 15% Leon Millot grapes, but I think that good wine can be made in the Danish climate using up to 20 different varieties. The best wine is made using stock vines when they are around 15 years old. We are close to that now, and the root system is well established on the old sea floor which makes up our fields,” says Søren Beck. “We planted in 1999 so our root system is now 7 years old. Vines produce seriously good quality wine when they are 12-15 years old, and continue to develop qualitatively to about 60-80 years.”
There are some 20 commercial Danish wine producers across the country, of which Dansk Vincenter is the largest. The vineyard is located in the village of Avedøre south of Copenhagen. In addition to research and wine production, Dansk Vincenter has become popular for holding parties on account of its charm and atmosphere. A large array of events are also held with wine as a main theme.
“With a consumption of approx. 37 litres of wine per person annually, Danes are among Europe’s most enthusiastic wine drinkers when you exclude the actual wine producing countries. Per capita consumption in France for example is almost double that of Denmark. But the interest of Danes in good wine is amazing, and increasing numbers are involved in wine production over most of the world. A prime example is Peter Sisseck who makes Pingus, perhaps the world’s most sought after wine, at his vineyard in Spain.”
According to Søren Beck, Danes’ increasing role in viniculture is primarily due to their approach to wine production. To make interesting wines in a country like Denmark, producers have to be skilful. The Danish climate does not help wine producers, so they must rely on their own abilities.
“They have to be skilful and inventive craftsmen, open to new methods which perhaps break with traditions of wine production,” says Søren Beck. “Our limited options have taught us to be open to many different opportunities. We are not locked into traditions, and that encourages far greater diversity in what we make, and hence broadens our opportunities. So although you would not think it, Denmark has been officially approved as a wine producing country. Quite a good story, isn’t it?”
NO MORE HOT DOG MESS
BAKERY ENZYME: By using a totally new Danishdeveloped enzyme for hot dog buns, the sausage is kept in place in the bun
Denmark’s Danisco, a global company which is among the world’s largest manufacturers of food ingredients, has developed a groundbreaking new enzyme for commercial bakeries. Grindamyl Powerfresh sets new standards in antistaling technology for bread and tortillas.
“The enzyme outperforms existing market standards, as it makes sliced bread, tortillas and hot dog buns softer and extends shelf life,” says Jan Sindesen, President of Danisco Specialities. “It reduces crumbliness and improves flexibility, making it particularly suitable for use in these types of bread.”
By its exclusive ability to alter the molecular structure of starch, the enzyme has a powerful impact on starch retrogradation, which is the main contributor to the staling process.
For bakeries, fewer crumbs mean enhanced efficiency and production cost savings. For consumers, the enzyme means that sliced bread does not break when they butter it, and that the hot dog bun does not break in two when the sausage is inserted. An additional benefit is improved shelf life.
“We want to launch the enzyme globally and are starting on the North American market, from where we’ll be rolling it out to other countries as we get the relevant approvals. The enzyme has already been approved in most countries in the world,” says Jan Sindesen. Jan Sindesen adds that the product is the result of synergy from Danisco’s acquisition of former US biotechnology company Genencor in 2005.
“The enzyme outperforms existing market standards, as it makes sliced bread, tortillas and hot dog buns softer and extends shelf life,” says Jan Sindesen, President of Danisco Specialities. “It reduces crumbliness and improves flexibility, making it particularly suitable for use in these types of bread.”
FRUIT BARS: Dried fruits are witnessing an unparalleled revival these days. From being an almost forgotten addition to Danish open sandwiches, dried fruit has been relaunched as an international fruit bar – a healthy snack.N early two generations of Danes have grown up with the small sliced rectangle of dried fig and date placed on a slice of rye bread. In the packed lunch at school, it was normally the one which was kept until last, as the dessert.
Nearly two generations of Danes have grown up with the small sliced rectangle of dried fig and date placed on a slice of rye bread. In the packed lunch at school, it was normally the one which was kept until last, as the dessert.
The fig slice became an exotic item in the period of postwar scarcity, which survived long after the school packed lunch changed. But its great revival has come in the last couple of years after Castus, the producer of the product, changed the format. From being a sliced product for Danish open sandwiches, it has become a snack bar – a small and healthy inbetween meal, or a suitable substitute when the hunger for sweets becomes overpowering.
“The relaunched packaging has increased sales more than fivefold in the last three years,” says director and owner of Castus, Henrik Winther-Olsen. “It has simply been ’rediscovered’ as a convenient and really healthy snack. It meets modern consumer demands for a high fibre, low calorie, low salt product with no added sugar, preservatives or artificial colourings.” Young people and adults who want natural snack foods are taking to it. But the biggest sales are still to children, who recognise it as a product chiefly directed at them.
“We are targeting our sales towards children, but in a way which also appeals to the parents of the children,” says Winther-Olsen. “Because it is through parents’ purchasing that we can attempt to change the sweet eating habits of children. And they taste so good, that most children want to have more.”
The fruit bars are produced in eight taste variants which all have dried dates as the main ingredient, accompanied by either dried fig, pear, banana, raspberry, strawberry, apricot, nuts or fruit mixture. In addition there is the original pure fig and date.
Henrik Winther-Olsen expects strong interest in Castus products in UK schools, in connection with a major campaign for healthier food in schools.
“Castus Fruit Bars are the first products to have been evaluated by Britain’s Health Education Trust. They are considered to meet the required specifications and so are suitable for Real Choice vending in secondary schools,” says Winther-Olsen. “Major efforts are being made to replace traditional chocolate-and-chips vending machines with healthy alternatives. Official approval from the Health Education Trust could be a turning point for us on the UK market.”
Castus is good for you
When in 1952 the founder of the company was pondering a suitable name for his dried fruit products, he came up with Castus: the Indian term for ’everything which is good for you’. The company was familyowned until 1993, when it was first bought by CPC Foods and later sold on to Unilever. In 2003, Unilever sold Castus to the current owner and director Henrik Winther-Olsen. The company produces its fruit bars in northern Jutland, while the headquarters and sales department are located near Copenhagen. When Henrik Winther-Olsen acquired the company, production corresponded to 4 million bars annually. In 2006, production will exceed 20 million bars. The increased production has led to substantial investments in further process lines at the production location in Jutland.
SPECIALITY: STRANGE FISH
FISHERY: Danish fish exporters are among the most active in Europe
At Hanstholmbased Scanfish, a leading European supplier of fresh and frozen fish, there are slightly worried looks. One of the company’s specialities, Norway lobsters, which are caught in the waters between Denmark and Norway, are staying away from their normal gathering grounds. In 2006, fishermen sought the delicate shellfish in all the usual places. But with meagre results.
“We can still supply Norway lobsters because naturally they are still being caught, but at well below the quantities we have been used to for the last many years,” says director Morten Nielsen, Scanfish.
“Cod, one of our other large product groups, is however doing very well. As is cod roe, of which we deliver significant amounts especially to the southern European markets. Despite the relatively short season for cod roe, our freezing capacity ensures that we can always deliver even large quantities of this speciality.” Danish fishermen account for around 10% of all the Norway lobsters – Nephrops norvegicus – caught in Europe. The lobster, considered to be among the most delicate of shellfish, is found in the waters between Denmark, Scotland and Norway. In recent years, the total Danish catch has been around 5,000 annually of which around 95 % is exported, mainly to southern Europe.
Buying and selling
Scanfish is represented across most of Europe. The company has agreements with fishermen regarding purchase of catches in Denmark, Norway and the Faroe Islands and also buys at all major fish auctions. Scanfish supplies fish to large wholesale dealers and supermarket chains throughout Europe. The fish is supplied both fresh and frozen, whole or processed. Filleting and cutting takes place at the company’s own factories in Thyborøn and Hanstholm on the Danish west coast.
“We also import large quantities of fish and shellfish from both China and Africa,” says Morten Nielsen. “From Africa it is primarily Victoria Bars from Victoria lake. But broadly speaking we are able to deliver all types of fish. Customers ask and we deliver. It’s all a question of flexibility, and our organisation is geared for it.”
TOUGH ENVIRONMENTAL REQUIREMENTS CREATE EXPORT SUCCESS
AQUACULTURE: Danish fish farmers, feed producers and equipment suppliers are operating in accordance with the world’s strictest environmental legislation
Denmark’s environmental legislation is among the strictest in the world, especially regarding aquatic environments. It has helped Danish fish farmers to develop the world’s best water treatment and recirculation systems for their fish farms. The demanding domestic market has thus formed a strong foundation for the development of both equipment components and complete aquaculture systems. The industry has gained a strong position on a number of export markets including Latin America where considerable growth in aquaculture is forecast. A large number of companies and research institutions in the industry have established AquaCircle, a knowledge centre which aims to provide the motive power to achieve further progress.
“Worldwide, aquaculture will become increasingly important in the production of edible fish,” says Jacob Bregnballe, chairman of the Danish Aquaculture trade organisation. “FAO [the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations] estimates that by 2015, as many fish will be bred globally as will be caught in the sea. The growth in aquaculture will be knowledge and technology driven, so we anticipate a strong increase in global demand for these competencies.” Denmark is the largest exporter of farmed fish in the European Union, producing around 30,000 tons of trout, as well as eel and other species of fish in terrestrial and sea farms respectively.
“We aim to more than double production by 2015,” says Bregnballe. “With more than 100 years’ experience in feed, breeding technology and product processing, we are well prepared to extend our leading position in the EU.”
To double total production, it is planned to increase fish farm production of trout to 60,000 tons, increasing trout production fivefold in sea farms as well as tripling eel production to 5,000 tons annually. In addition, extensive research and test breeding of a number of other fish species such as turbot, Dover sole, cod, perch and pikeperch, are currently being conducted. “The objective is to double production, but without affecting the aquatic environment,” says Jacob Bregnballe. “This is where our accumulated know-how in AquaCircle comes into the picture. The expertise in fish farming, recirculation technology, feed production, aquatic environment and research which the knowledge centre possesses, will not only benefit the Danish industry but also aquaculture abroad.”
The chairman of the Danish Aquaculture trade organisation, Jacob Bregnballe, has a great deal of experience in fish farming. He began with turbot production, tried eel breeding and today produces rainbow trout – large steelheads intended for angling in putand-take lakes. This niche production gives him time to participate in a number of development projects aimed at strengthening Danish aquaculture. He runs Asnæs Fiskeopdræt, a fish farm, as well as Danaq, a company specialising in commercial aquaculture with a focus on recirculation technology. “Our knowledge is based on the 100 year old Danish fish farming tradition, supplemented with a long list of our international projects,” Bregnballe says.
Test breeding cod
Asnæs Fiskeopdræt was established close to one of Denmark’s largest power stations, Asnæsværket, which provides waste cooling water to the fish farm during the winter. The warm water is fed in directly
The purest production in the EU
“The development project has been placed here because of our state-of-the-art technology where we can simulate many of the conditions which influence the wellbeing of the fish. It is also a showcase for treatment, recirculation and disinfection of the water with UV light.”
“I would go as far as to say that Danish fish farming is the purest form of fish production in the entire EU,” says Bregnballe. “That is also how it should be. In Denmark we have set very high environmental objectives, and that is one of the reasons why Danish fish farming has a strong position internationally.”
The Danish Aquaculture trade organisation has around 300 members of whom around 200 are fish farmers. The rest are feed manufacturers, processing companies and equipment suppliers.
REAL DANISH PASTRY
DANISH PASTRY: The authentic Danish pastry which is sold as a bake-off product outside Denmark, comes from a bakery established by monks almost 900 years ago
In Denmark, a Danish pastry is called Wienerbrød – Viennese bread. In Vienna meanwhile, the delicacy is called Kopenhagener Gebäck – Copenhagen pastry. The confusion is completed by the fact that Danish pastry was invented neither in Copenhagen nor Vienna, but has its historical roots in Turkey, where the sugary baklava is the great-great-grandmother of the Danish pastry.
Developed in Denmark
“Nonetheless it was Danish bakers who developed the Danish pastry into the delicious speciality that it is today, and thereby justified its name abroad” says director Laila Finding of Mette Munk.
Mette Munk has roots stretching back to the Viking Age. In 1175, monks in the city of Odense, which was later to become the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, built a water mill which produced flour for centuries. The name of the mill was Munke Mølle, and it was from here in 1962 that one of the world’s oldest mills began exporting the famous and genuine Danish pastry.
Delicious and crispy “Mette Munk was the first Danish bakery to export the genuine product,” says Laila Finding. “It is based on a yeast dough which is folded with butter or margarine 27 times. Then it is formed and filled with jam, cream and spices, and decorated in various ways. When baked, it acquires this wonderfully airy texture of consistent crispiness. For some reason, only Danish bakers have succeeded in making it the right way – until now, when you can take a short cut by baking our Danish pastry yourself which we produce as a bake-off product. Whether you bake it in Tokyo, Johannesburg or San Diego, it will be an authentic Danish pastry.”
The bulk of Mette Munk’s bake-off Danish pastry is sold as private labels in large supermarket chains all over the world. In addition catering companies, petrol stations and fast-food chains with in-house bakeries offer Mette Munk pastries.
“My husband and I acquired the bakery recently and are currently tidying up the range which includes a large number of tarts and industrial Danish pastry products. We will now primarily concentrate on Danish pastry,” says Laila Finding. “We are constantly developing new variations to suit any taste or local tradition, but always in a way that ensures it is the authentic Danish pastry.”
EUROPEAN LEADER IN PLASTIC PACKAGING
PACKAGING INNOVATION: A plastic tray for ready made dishes that can be transferred directly from the freezer to a conventional oven at 220°C has made a Danish plastics manufacturer into a European market leader
Aunique plastic material for food products has revolutionised the way in which consumers can prepare meals. The material, a crystallised polyethylene derivative called CPET, can be stored deep frozen, and is microwavable and ovenable at up to 220°C in a conventional oven. The CPET production process is extremely difficult to control, but at packaging company Færch Plast in Holstebro, Denmark, they have thoroughly mastered it. So much so, that Færch Plast today has more than 45% of the European market for plastic trays for ready made dishes.
“To earn money in a highly competitive industry like plastics, you have to find a niche where you are the best in the world. The niche must be cultivated to perfection, and you must constantly be at the cutting edge with innovative products which create added value for customers.” So says managing director Jens Bornstein of Færch Plast. It is not enough to be the best at plastics; packaging manufacturers must also know everything about food trends and ordinary food preparation.
“It is essential to be able to read trends in the convenience market,” says Bornstein. “We take great interest in the American market, simply because what happens there today will happen in Europe later – usually with Great Britain as a staging post, as has happened with ready made dishes. British supermarkets have an amazing choice of dishes, a trend which has only just started in Denmark. But it is already gaining pace in Spain, France and the Benelux countries.”
For packaging producers, it’s a ready made opportunity to capitalise on – if they have the necessary competencies. “All growth markets require innovation and technical expertise. We have both sets of skills,” says Bornstein.
New factory in the Czech Republic
Færch Plast’s ambitions of continued growth in the competitive plastic packaging market for the food industry will gain added momentum in 2007 when the company starts construction of a new production facility in the Czech Republic. The factory will be located in Liberec in the northern part of the Czech Republic, close to the German border. Færch Plast will invest around EUR 50 million in the 5000 m2 factory, which will employ around 100 people in the first year.
“Plastics are immensely costly on the transport side,” says managing director Jens Bornstein. “With the new production facility in the Czech Republic we will be placed at the geographical centre of the market, enabling us to cover the growing need at competitive prices.” Initially the Czech factory will only produce relatively straightforward products in polypropylene, while the factory in Holstebro, in addition to conventional plastic products, will produce the difficult to control CPET production.
Reducing the price
To illustrate the company’s innovative skills, Bornstein mentions the collaboration with a German customer who needed a large number of plastic trays for minced meat. Instead of offering standard trays, Færch Plast’s engineers looked at the customer’s production equipment. By making a few adjustments to the process equipment, the stacking height of the plastic trays was reduced from 5 to 2 mm. Færch Plast not only shaved 25% off the tray price – a saving due to lower transport costs – but also helped the customer to make production considerably more efficient.
“Another product we have been particularly successful with is a tray specially developed for preparation of e.g. vegetables in a microwave oven. The lid of the tray is constructed so that at a pressure of 1.25 atmospheres, it creates a perforation which allows the steam to escape. The packaging saves both time and energy, and at the same time the food is attractively presented.”
Increased revenues with fewer people
Færch Plast has achieved 10% annual growth rates for many years, and it has been purely organic growth. In recent years, the company has nonetheless been able to restrain the staff growth curve. In the last two years the figure has actually decreased although production and revenues have continued to grow. “It is due to staff motivation and a strong focus on changed working procedures. But it is also because of continued investment in space, production equipment and automation. In the last four years alone, we have more than doubled our storage and production capacity.” Færch Plast forecasts revenues of approx. EUR 100 million in 2006, and Jens Bornstein expects that revenues will reach EUR 130 million in the next 3 or 4 years.
MILK HAS HEALING PROPERTIES
BIOACTIVITY: There are substances in ordinary milk which can help heal stomach ulcers. A research team in Denmark will now begin identifying these substances in order to produce beneficial functional foods
Since humans first walked the earth, milk has been the primal nutrient, and it forms an intrinsic part of our diet today. Recent years have seen increasing interest in the properties milk is thought to possess beyond the purely nutritional, and what importance the bioactive substances in milk can have for human health and wellbeing. Currently there is very little knowledge in this area.
Research workers at the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences are now addressing this issue. A four year research project headed by senior research scientist Lotte Bach Larsen will explore the complex world of milk to identify substances which could have benefits beyond the purely nutritional.
“We will specifically try to identify one or several substances in milk which may have a healing effect on ulcers,” says Lotte Bach Larsen. “One of the things we know about milk is that people with stomach ulcers feel better when they drink it. We don’t know what it is in milk that brings this benefit, but the literature describes certain proteins in milk with a healing effect on ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract.”
“Amazing bioactivity happens when we drink milk,” says Bach Larsen. “We know for instance that milk proteins are broken down into smaller units in the stomach. Some of these fragments, called peptides, could have a beneficial effect on ulcer healing processes in the gastrointestinal tract. Ulcer formation in the gastrointestinal tract is seen for example in patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Other peptides might help lower blood pressure and others still might dampen hunger pangs and so have a slimming effect.”
The research team will begin examining the various substances in milk to find out whether there are peptides with such bioactive properties in for example various hydrolysates of milk. The team will also examine whether it is feasible to purify the various substances from whey and milk powders. A collaboration partner in the project is the dairy giant Arla Foods, which will supply various milk hydrolysates for the research.
“Our part in the project is probably the closest you can get to fundamental research into various types of milk,” says Lotte Bach Larsen. “The Central Hospital in Viborg and the Colitis-Crohn’s disease patient association will then take over regarding the medical and patient-related part of the project, while Arla Foods handles the development of potential functional food products. But under all circumstances, it will be interesting to see what milk can be used for in addition to drinking it.” The project group leaders comprise Lotte Bach Larsen and Stig Purup, both senior research scientists at the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, and Vibeke Andersen who is a consultant at Viborg Hospital.
FROM OLD BOOTS TO JUICY STEAKS
MEAT TENDERISING: Now even the toughest piece of meat can be made tender and delicious. Tests in Denmark show that meat which is marinated with a little salt, sugar and sodium bicarbonate becomes as tender as a sirloin steak.
Hey presto!. . . From a worn out milking cow to delicious, tender and juicy steaks. Tests conducted at the Danish Meat Research Institute have shown that meat from dairy cattle, which is not always the most suitable for eating, can be turned into the finest steak by marinating. The tests, carried out in collaboration with the Institute’s Swedish and Norwegian colleagues, indicate the substantial added value of marinated meat in both the wholesale and retail sectors.
The experiments on tenderising and determining the quality of meat from dairy cattle are probably the most comprehensive and systematic so far in the international slaughterhouse industry. The project has been led by Katja Rosenvold of the Danish Meat Research Institute in Roskilde, Denmark. The Institute, which is the largest privately owned research institute of its kind in the world, conducts research for both Danish and foreign meat and slaughterhouse industries. Its work covers everything from basic research in food safety to robot technology and individual projects of many different kinds.
“Danish dairy cattle are the root stock of the vast majority of Danish livestock, and the reason why Danish dairy products are so widespread around the world,” says Katja Rosenvold. “But at some point in time, normally after 5-7 years, the dairy cattle are sent to the slaughterhouse. Although the meat is nutritionally excellent, it is rarely tender. So we investigated how we could tenderise the meat and increase its quality level.”
For the experiment, the research group used primarily dairy cattle from the Holstein Friesian breed, which is the most widespread milking breed in the world. The group concentrated on two cuts: the loin and the quadriceps femoris muscle. The latter was separated into the round part and the flat part. The three pieces of meat were then exposed to mechanical tenderising with T shaped needles, multineedle injection with a marinade of salt and sugar, and a multi-needle injection with a marinade of salt, sugar and sodium bicarbonate.
“Loins and quadriceps femoris muscles from 45 Danish dairy cattle were used in the experiment,” says Katja Rosenvold. “7 days after slaughter the meat was treated and then cut into steaks and retail packed. After a further 7 days’ refrigerated storage the eating quality was assessed by qualified tasters.”
The tasters were mightily impressed. Especially after treatment with the marinade of salt, sugar and sodium bicarbonate, the cheaper quadriceps femoris muscle steak was just as tender as the untreated and expensive loin, without affecting the taste quality.
“The tests naturally showed a large number of variables depending on which part of the meat we treated and how,” says Katja Rosenvold. “But the overall result was unequivocal: marinating less valuable cuts of beef can give significant added value in the shape of better eating quality.”
WORLD LEADING DANISH ABATTOIR TECHNOLOGY
ABATTOIR ROBOTS: Tican pig abattoir has developed its own special robot which saves 12 men heavy lifting work
Previously there were 12 abattoir workers who collectively lifted around 140 tons of pig carcasses on a daily basis. Three men at a time lifted the front ends of the pigs from the belt onto what is nicknamed ’the Christmas tree’ – a rod with upward turned spikes – after which the loaded tree enters the processing chain.
Later the lifting work was eased: Instead of carrying a heavy weight all the way from the belt to the Christmas tree, the belt continued all the way to the tree, which then automatically adjusted the height. Now the three men only needed to do a small lift, and impale the front end onto the hook of the Christmas tree. But it was still demanding work.
140 tons a day
Tican, a co-operative abattoir in Thisted, Denmark, has now revolutionised that part of its abattoir work. In collaboration with two other companies in the food technology industry, Tican has developed a robot which has taken over the heavy lifting work. From constantly having three men dealing with the task, today only one man is needed – to control the robot.
“Every day we slaughter around 6,500 pigs and that gives around 13,000 front ends, each with a weight of 10-12 kilos representing a daily lifting task of about 140 tons,” says production director Torben Kock of Tican a.m.b.a. “That part of the abattoir work has traditionally been the heaviest and most repetitive. And although naturally it was not the same men who lifted all the time, it was still highly demanding work, both physically and mentally because it requires strength and concentration.”
The development of the new robots took 18 months, and Tican has installed three of them. The robot technology is well-known, but it has been customized for this special lifting task. The abattoir contributed with the practical experience, Tano Food with the technology, and Højgaard Maskiner A/S with the production of machinery and installation.
The robots have also provided an unexpected spin-off benefit which can save money in the long term. The front ends of the pigs were often very stiff and difficult-to-handle when they reached the cutting area. Because of that, each front end was previously run through a ’massage-device’ which softened the pork. With the new robots, the entire front end is subjected to enormous pressure during the lift, which eliminates the need for the softening massage.
Tican is the largest of the small abattoirs, with a 7.5% share of the Danish market. It has about 650 co-operative members who are all located in the northern part of Jutland.
SUSHI – GENUINE JAPANESE FOOD IN DANISH
SUSHI: A small Danish company in Copenhagen has made sushi a popular attraction in Danish supermarkets. Their formula is based on Japanese tradition, with the added Danish quality of rationality and industrialisation. In two years, production of sushi pieces has increased from 4 million to more than 20 million annually. And consumers love it.
EPA Foods A/S, the company which has challenged Danish taste buds with its ready made sushi packs, is run by a young restaurant owner, Anders P. Christensen. The concept of selling through supermarkets has had such great success that he has expanded his business into German discount chains, and Swedish and Norwe-gian supermarkets.
“10 years ago I knew nothing about su-shi – nor did many Danes,” says Anders P. Christensen. “But during a visit to Hawaii I tasted sushi for the first time, and was completely sold on it. At that time I owned a number of restaurants in Copenhagen. When I came home I tried to find a sushi restaurant in Copenhagen, but could not find one. Then I sold my restaurants and put all my resources into a brand new sushi restaurant. It is called Sushitarian and is one of the oldest sushi restaurants in Denmark.”
Anders P. Christensen wanted to do it the right way from the beginning, so his first step was to travel to Los Angeles, which is the one place outside of Japan where sushi has become part of the lifestyle. Here he contacted Andy Matsuda, California’s most prominent sushi chef. Together they developed a concept where Andy Matsuda trained some cooks over six months, who then joined Anders P. Christensen. They passed on their skills in Copenhagen, and then returned to California where they formed part of a roster in other sushi restaurants. The concept has become a great success with many cooks trained over time who both maintain the original traditions and also understand how to use local ingredients to adjust the sushi to various national taste perceptions.
“Shushitarian was an immediate success in Copenhagen,” says Anders P. Christensen. “It also helped initiate a demand outside the restaurants. Many people saw it as take-away food. So I thought, why not sell sushi directly from the supermarket?”
Untraditional supermarket wares
One of the big problems in selling sushi through supermarkets is shelf life and sell-by date. The combination of rice and raw fish or shellfish react against each other. In order for the rice, which is the actual ingredient of sushi, to be right, it must be freshly made. And to conform with legislation, raw fish must not be sold without being chilled to at least 2°C. When sushi rice is chilled to 2°C, it loses all its elegant and delicate properties in a very short time.
“From the beginning we chose a shelf life of two days from production to sell-by date,” says Anders P. Christensen. “The demand for such rapid turnover in shops made it difficult, but fortunately there was a supermarket chain in Denmark which gave it a chance, and they have not regretted it. Today the short shelf life is not an issue. Most of it is sold on the first day and the rest on the second day.”
The sushi products are mostly sold in standard packs of 10 pieces – 6 pieces of nigiri and 4 maki rolls. They are produced overnight, packed at dawn and distributed during the morning. Together with the 10 pieces, the packs are supplied with soya sauce, preserved ginger, wasabi and chopsticks. The ingredients for nigiri, the rice pieces with raw fish, are in addition to the original Japanese rice: trout, salmon, halibut, large Asian shrimps, marlin and tuna. The maki rolls feature e.g. trout roe and Tamago, which is Japanese omelette.
“In line with a dramatic increase in sales we have started developing various luxury variants which satisfy a progressively more demanding consumer segment,” says Christensen. “The sushi restaurants, take-away places and supermarket offers support each other. A restaurant visit on Saturdays persuades people to buy sushi in supermarkets on Mondays. And the temptations from the supermarket on Tuesdays gets people to discover new things in the restaurants on Wednesdays. And so on. That means we must constantly renew the offers in supermarkets to keep up with consumer wishes.”
Anders P. Christensen does however acknowledge that there are limitations.
“There are so many things that we cannot make industrially, which a sushi chef can dazzle restaurant guests with. The objective is to produce genuine products at industrial prices, accepting the limitations this imposes. But there are still lots of development opportunities and challenges.”
KNOWLEDGE OF RICE
PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY: Taste of Tokyo’s instant success is due to a close and professional collaboration between Epa Foods A/S and the Danish Technological Institute. A systematic and analytic approach to production leads to industrial manufacturing of high quality.
Taste of Tokyo’s instant success with its industrially made sushi specialities is particularly due to targeted innovation and product development which the company has gained through close collaboration with the Danish Technological Institute. The collaboration has been the background for the upscaling from ’chef scale’ to industrial scale without Taste of Tokyo compromising on quality. It has made large demands on production technology, hygiene, packaging and distribution.
“Sushi, which quite simply means boiled marinated rice and is the basic and main ingredient of a piece of sushi, becomes dull when the rice sits there being chilled. So we make use of the Danish Technological Institute’s expertise in measuring for example texture and consistency. It gives us an assurance for always supplying optimal and uniform quality,” says Anders P. Christensen of Taste of Tokyo.
The institute makes systematic analyses of production processes and recipes. In addition, tests are carried out on the company’s own production equipment, and the institute makes product characterizations by measuring the consistency of the rice on the institute’s advanced texture analyzer. The systematic and analytical approach to how to prepare sushi rice that retains the right quality for two days product shelf life, has provided Taste of Tokyo with an understanding of rice which very few possess worldwide.
“We have a highly comprehensive knowledge of rice varieties, how to keep and treat them, as well as the composition of the right marinades for boiling them in,” says Anders P. Christensen. “There are a vast number of details to take into consideration if you want to achieve the right quality. Our collaboration with the Danish Technological Institute has ensured that.”
MAXIMIZES EARNINGS – MINIMIZES GIVE-AWAY
|BATCHING MACHINES: Food in fixed weight packaging is becoming more and more sought after by both supermarkets and wholesalers. With the right process equipment, earnings are increased – and the give-away weight minimised |
Each time a supermarket sells two steaks at a fixed weight and price, the pack must never weigh less than is stated, and should be as close as possible to the displayed weight. Everything above that weight is in reality given away. So wholesalers and producers are now focusing on give-away as an earnings parameter.
Scanvaegt International A/S, a Danish producer of process equipment for the meat, fish and poultry industries, is helping customers to maximise earnings and minimise the giveaway with the world’s most accurate fixed-weight packer, ScanBatcher 4700.
“We are down to 1-2% giveaway, and can get down under 1% depending on the product,” says marketing manager Lars Bjerregaard Jessen of Scanvaegt International. “No other producers of batching machines can do that.” More and more retailers and food processing companies are choosing fixed-weight packs because of the advantages of handling processing, packing, product labelling and shipping in one continuous sequence. It also offers substantial logistics savings and better inventory control, and makes it easy to adjust the in-shop selling price. And standard size packs, whether it’s for steaks, fish or chicken breasts, are gaining ground among consumers.
“Since the late 1970s when we revolutionised the area with the invention of the first batching machine for fixed-weight packs, Scanvaegt has developed the systems almost to perfection in collaboration with our customers,” says Bjerregaard Jessen. “It also means that we are increasingly involved in the design of new process solutions from the beginning, and so can provide total solutions instead of part solutions. Many of our customers now see us more as strategic partners than a machine supplier, and we often participate in their production as part of the company.” Scanvaegt was established in 1932. At that time the main emphasis was on production of scales and weighing systems. Today this accounts for only a small part of the company’s business. The focus today is mostly on problem solving at a high-tech level.
“Customers come to us with their ideas or problems – or their products. And in the vast majority of cases we succeed in fulfilling their needs. A new packaging, a new cut, or a completely new product which has never been through a machine before and gains a new place in consumer consciousnesses. Above all, we aim to provide round-the-clock service, every day of the year. Because if a machine is down for even a couple of hours, modern food production goes haywire. With our machinery, that is a rare event.”
ORGANIC DAIRY HAS THE BEST IMAGE
ORGANIC DAIRY: A small, wholly organic dairy is successfully challenging the large ones. Recently, Thise Dairy was judged the Danish food company with the best reputation, on account of its firm adherence to ideological principles
A good story to tell, distinctiveness and outstanding quality, blended with traditions of craftsmanship and good business acumen. These are the ingredients of success, which the small but high profile Danish dairy has achieved in recent years. The dairy’s latest accolade was to be named the Danish food company with the best reputation in the country, by senior executives from the food industry.
Each year the independent industry magazine Food News carries out an extensive image analysis and lists the 15 companies in the food industry which have the best reputation. For the first time, a relatively small and 100% organic company topped the list, in competition with the likes of Carlsberg, Danisco, Arla and Danish Crown – all global and mostly market leading companies.
...Milk from Jersey cattle is far better for curdled milk products because it contains more fat, proteins and minerals...
“We are naturally proud of the No.1 slot,” says the dairy’s managing director Poul J. Pedersen. “But actually we have not done anything more for it than what we always have done. And that is to make the best dairy products that money can buy.” At first sight, Poul Pedersen appears a modest man, but he is far from being so. He is very conscious of the qualities of his dairy and makes no secret of it, which is one of the reasons why Thise achieved high scores for visibility, openness and communication.
“It all naturally stems from the quality of the ingredients and the way we treat them,” says Poul Pedersen. “Our background is 100% ecology, and we have maintained that principle since our establishment in 1988 – at a time when dairy operation was heading towards mass production to produce as cheaply as possible, and thus as indistinctively as possible. We have never made a secret of the fact that it costs to produce quality, and for that reason we will probably never become an attraction in discount chains.”
...“Naturally it is nice to grow, but growth for growth’s sake is not our aim” says Poul Pedersen...
Large growth rates
More and more consumers in Denmark are willing to pay for the quality which ecology represents. Turnover in organic foods increased by 12% from 2004 to 2005, an increase which has continued in 2006.
“At Thise Dairy we have seen growth rates of 25% for many years,” says Poul Pedersen. “This year we are predicting 33% growth, which is why next year we will take into use a new expansion of double the size of our dairy.”
When the dairy was about to be closed in 1988 by the almost monopoly-like MD Foods, which later became Arla Foods, a group of farmers contacted Poul Pedersen and encouraged him to buy the dairy. The 12 farmers became the dairy’s first organic co-operative members. The figure now stands at 64, and in 2007 a further 14 farmers will join. The geographical location of the co-operative members has also expanded to cover most of Jutland.
“Naturally it is nice to grow, but growth for growth’s sake is not our aim” says Poul Pedersen. “We only want to grow to the extent that customers want our products. In return we have to be able to deliver both in terms of quantity and quality. When customers express a wish for a special product, we must be ready to deliver it. Quite simply, we make all the things that the large ones cannot or will not make. The reason why we have that flexibility is because we are not larger than we are.” Thise’s business philosophy of being a development dairy has been especially helpful in creating the dairy’s image. Thise was for example the first dairy to separate the milk according to the breed of cattle.
“Milk is not just milk,” says Poul Pedersen. “Milk from piebald and red cattle is good for standard milk and cheese production, while milk from Jersey cattle is far better for curdled milk products because it contains more fat, proteins and minerals. When the large dairies make curdled milk products using mixed milk, they have to add various additives and stabilizers to achieve the right consistency. Our curdled milk products are the real thing, and consumers can taste it.”
Until now Thise Dairy has been able to sell everything they produce in Denmark – and more besides. And sometimes the dairy simply cannot keep up with the demand for seasonal products. That is one of the reasons why the dairy so far has had a limited focus on exports. This year exports account for about 6% of production. But with the expansion next year, opportunities will be better.
“We look forward to it. Considering that conventional Danish dairy products currently sell amazingly well abroad, imagine what we can achieve when countries abroad spot our extraordinarily fine quality,” says Poul Pedersen.
FOOD JUST LIKE IT WAS IN THE OLD DAYS
DANISH INN FOOD: Spare ribs from the good old Danish pig. Strong dark beer to boil them in. Served with caramelised potatoes and creamed kale. Nothing could be more traditional. The dish is served at Sevel Kro – one of Denmark’s most pleasant and most charming inns
A cold, wet and windy afternoon on The Royal Mile in Edinburgh suddenly becomes a memory for life when you go into a pub and warm yourself up with a pot of scorching hot moules mariniere of fabulous quality. Or frog’s legs in Provence which together with chilled white wine and the singing of the cicadas becomes a southern apotheosis. Not to mention the moment when genuine Peking duck is served in Beijing and the host according to tradition offers the duck’s tongue as the most delicious delicacy.
Local food and local cuisine is an essential part of any journey, to many even the most essential. Especially because it also contains elements of surprise. To turn a corner and suddenly discover a charming inn with invitingly good food. Friendly natives who like a chat, and a landlord and landlady who for years have kept a special local avec which they think right now is the moment to be uncorked.
Spare ribs in beer
In Denmark there are hundreds of small local inns which all have their special menus offering distinctive local food. Everywhere along the coasts, freshly caught fish is the attraction. Inside the country one finds rural dishes based on the world famous Danish pig. A general dish in almost all Danish inns is omelette with fried pork, decorated with fresh tomatoes and lots of chives. Served with cool beer, preferably from the local microbrewery, an ice-cold aquavit, and you are ready to take lodgings and spend the rest of the day exploring the neighbourhood.
In the middle of Jutland, in an ancient heathland area of natural beauty with plantations and beautiful lakes, lies the village Sevel in whose local inn reside the proprietors Ruth and Hans Kurt Nielsen. With overnight accommodation and a restaurant which is frequented by food connoisseurs from far and near. On their menu, Ruth and Hans Kurt offer an old Danish regional dish which is worth a detour: Ølbien in old Jut-land language. Or spare ribs in beer to make it understandable.
The main ingredient are spare ribs from a pig, boiled in a bouillon laced with a bottle of Old Gambrinus dark beer from the local brewery. After boiling, the spare ribs are fried until tender and crispy. Following tradition they are served with caramelised baby potatoes and creamed kale, with which you naturally drink the same beer as the spare ribs have been boiled in. But take care, at 9.7% it is strong stuff. And if you are also attracted by Hans Kurt’s own distilled spirits, using a recipe involving the calming St. John’s wort, then you are ready for a midday nap in room 3 with a view over Sevel’s age-old church.
Thus refreshed, and after a cup of coffee with homemade cake, you are ready to explore the surrounding countryside. A walk around Stubbergård Lake, where one of Denmark’s oldest monastery ruins lies in lonely majesty. A short drive to visit the old village of Hjerl Hede. Or Sahl Church with Den-mark’s most famous gold plated altarpiece. All within a radius of five kilometres.
Back at Sevel Kro there is now one hour to dinner. That is used to briefly explore the inn’s new wine cellar where you choose the wine of the evening while Hans Kurt pours a small drink before the evening’s culinary experiences. If you choose one of the chef’s meat dishes, all of which originate from meaty Limousine cattle, then you are not making a poor choice. And if you are lucky –and usually you are at Sevel Kro – the day is ended with one of the homemade distilled spirits and some pleasant chatter with Ruth, Hans Kurt and the local people.
The Aquavit Route
Together with nine other inns, Sevel Kro forms part of a loose cluster of eating places which lie around the Limfjord in Jutland, which is known for its beautiful countryside with a mixture of water, open landscapes and woods. The inns market themselves under the name ’The Aquavit Route’. In addition to its local regional dishes, each inn offers a choice of special Danish aquavits made using herbs often picked in fields or meadows close to the inn. All inns offer overnight accommodation, which for two people sharing a double room, including morning buffet, costs on average EUR 100-120.
1. Sevel Kro lies in the heart of Jutland as the closest neighbour to the village church. The inn can be used as a base for exploring some of the most beautiful countryside in Denmark –and a stay of high gastronomic quality.
2. To prepare ’Ølbien’, meaty spare ribs are boiled in a mixture of bouillon and Old Gambrinus dark beer from the local Hancock Brewery
3. The spare ribs are fried until crispy –
4. – and served with caramelised baby potatoes and creamed kale
FOOD COLOURS: A full range of colours suitable for surimi has been developed by the global ingredients supplier, Chr. Hansen.
Chr. Hansen recently launched a new range of colours for surimi.
“As a leading global producer of natural colours, it is our goal to become one of the main suppliers to the surimi industry within the next few years,” says Lionel Schmitt, Vice President of Commercial Development, Colours.
As a result, Chr. Hansen has launched a campaign targeting the global community of surimi producers to further develop Chr. Hansen’s supply of colours that specifically caters to this industry.
“In most coloured surimi-based products it is important that the colour that is being used does not bleed or migrate into the white part of the surimi or to a neighbouring surimi in the same package – resulting in a less appealing look of the product,” explains Mr. Schmitt. “In this application the non-bleeding property of a colour is therefore a significant functionality equal to colour shade and heat- and light stability.” And this is exactly what Chr. Hansens surimi colours can offer; a wide range of colours that features both existing and new shades, heat- and light stability and is non-bleeding.
To give the producers a chance to test these new colours themselves, a surimi box, containing samples and documentation, has been developed and offers producers the opportunity to learn more about Chr. Hansen’s high-quality colours.
Healthy and low-fat
There is a large market for surimi in the Far East, and right now, surimi is a major trend in Southern Europe. European consumers, now more health-conscious than ever, are increasingly incorporating surimi into their daily meals.
“Many consumers in both the United States and Europe consider surimi a good source of protein, minerals and vitamins. It is recognized as a healthy food product that is low in fat and therefore it fits very well into the current health trend,” concludes Mr. Schmitt.
Operating from facilities in thirty countries worldwide, Chr. Hansen is a global biotechnol-ogy company that provides ingredients to the food, dairy, human health and nutrition, and animal health industries. Based on intensive research, Chr. Hansen works to improve the quality of food and health for people all over the world. The company is a leading supplier of cultures, probiotics, enzymes, colours, flavours, seasonings, tablet coatings and excipients, which are applied in foods and beverages, pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, and agricultural products.
Colour is a vital element in the consumer’s perception of most types of food and beverages.
Chr. Hansen is the leading supplier of natural colours in the fields of dairy, food, beverage and meat & prepared foods. Chr. Hansen’s natural colours can be extracted from plants, fruits and seeds. Chr. Hansen provides colour solutions customized for different customer needs and has an extensive range of colours, which can add appearance, vitality, and shade.
The world’s largest ship
At the end of August, the world’s largest container vessel was delivered to A.P. Møller – Mærsk shipping company. The vessel, named EMMA MÆRSK after ship owner Mærsk McKinney-Møller’s recently deceased wife, was built at the company’s own shipping yard in Odense, Denmark. The vessel has a capacity of about 11,000 TEU. It is 397 meters long and 56 meters wide. The latest technology has been fully exploited to design and build EMMA MÆRSK. It is probably the world’s most automated vessel where everything is monitored by advanced computer systems to achieve the most rational operations on board. It means for example that despite its size, the ship can be sailed and operated by a crew of just 13 people.
In 2006, spring, summer and late summer in Denmark produced several records for the number of sunshine hours and amount of precipitation. July was the sunniest month since the Danish Meteorological Institute started keeping records. The sun shone for 321 hours, and the month was warm enough to call the climate tropical. In contrast, August was the 3rd wettest month since 1874. An average 141 mm rain fell, double the normal August figure.
After a break of more than 10 years, Peter Høegh, one of Denmark’s most internationally known writers, has published a new novel “The Quiet Girl”. In the weeks following publication this summer, the book has been on the bestseller lists despite a mixed reception by reviewers. The book is characterised as a crime novel, but has a number of layers which make it comparable with Peter Høegh’s first great international success “Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow”, of which more than 2 million copies have been sold worldwide. “The Quiet Girl” has been sold for publication in 15 countries worldwide.
Record investments by Danish businesses
A new survey by Danske Bank reveals that Danish businesses are investing like never before. This year, an unprecedented DKK 177 bn (USD 30 bn) will be spent on new machinery, equipment and IT. This corresponds to investing DKK 88,000 (USD 14,960) in each of the country’s approx. 2 million private sector workplaces. The respective investment totals for 2004 and 2005 were DKK 138 bn (USD 23.5 bn) and DKK 155 bn (USD 26.4 bn).
According to Peter Birch Sørensen, professor of economics at Copenhagen University, the sizeable increase in investment will allay future risks of the economy becoming overheated: “It exerts a doubly positive effect, since companies will be able to collectively produce more with the same total workforce.”
Wind energy sector among Den-mark’s fastest growing industries
The Danish wind turbine industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in Denmark, according to figures from the Danish Wind Industry Association.
Today 21,000 people are employed in development, production and exports in wind turbine technology in Denmark, compared to 8,500 ten years ago.
Danish wind turbine manufacturers collectively have a 40% share of the global market.
The wind turbine industry also relocates production to low wage areas, bu two out of three companies in the industry still expect to create new jobs in Denmark over the next 12 months.
Denmark’s expertise in wind energy attracts foreign companies to Denmark.
In recent years Siemens has invested in wind turbine production in Brande, Jutland, through its acquisition of Bonus Energy, which at the time was Denmark’s oldest wind turbine manufacturer and the world’s fifth largest.
The Indian producer Suzlon has placed its global head office in Aarhus, and Spain’s Gamesa has set up a development department in Silkeborg.
The Stones roll into Horsens
Name them – and Horsens have attracted them. Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Katie Meluah, Madonna and last but not least, The Rolling Stones.
Horsens is a relatively quiet, Danish provincial town of around 40,000 inhabitants. But the town also has an unrivalled talent for attracting all the big names in contemporary rock and pop. In August, Madonna started her world tour in Horsens with a concert for an audience of 85,000, and in September it was the turn of The Rolling Stones. They also played to a capacity crowd of 85,000 who had converged on Horsens in the magnificent late summer weather to pay tribute to the now middle-aged rock stars.
CLOSE TO CAPACITY
By Steen Bocian,
Director of Department, Danske Bank
The economic upswing remains in ro bust good health. High consumption and investment growth and strongly climbing exports are helping ensure that unemployment will hit new record-lows in the coming years. We expect the number of jobless to fall to around 110,000 by the end of 2007, equivalent to an unemployment rate of 4.1%, a level not seen since the early 1970s.
But such low levels of unemployment raise the question of whether the economy risks being derailed – will the Danish economy overheat? There is no doubt that the risk of this happening has increased considerably in recent years. The high level of capacity utilisation is already having some impact on the economy, and it is likely the fallout will increase in the years ahead as the upswing continues. However, this is not synonymous with the Danish economy being on the brink of a crisis.
Overheating – assuming no political intervention – does not necessarily have an abrupt effect on the economy. Overheating typically makes itself felt via accelerating wage growth, which squeezes competitiveness and exports. In other words, rapidly rising wages do cost jobs, but only in the longer term. In the short term, higher wage growth will actually increase economic activity as a result of increased purchasing power. The economic climate will not change radically in the short term if wage growth is pushed to say, 4.5%, which is what we expect in 2007, though that does not mean it will not have negative employment consequences in 2008 or 2009. It is during the good times that the seeds of future downturns are sown.
Previous downturns that arrived on the heels of periods of high growth have, however, not been without political intervention. Typically, current account or structural imbalance considerations have forced drastic economic measures to be enacted. Looking at the present current account situation, there is no doubt that the surplus is under pressure, but it still looks rather healthy, and so the politicians are not being forced into action. Thus any eventual overheating is more likely to unfold under the economy’s own terms, and we believe the risk of a sharp downturn in the wake of the current period of high growth remains limited.
The Danes’ propensity to spend appears to be holding at a high level, and it looks like private consumption may grow by around 3.7% this year. Hence 2006 seems set to be the third year in a row when private consumption growth will hover around 3.5%. The last time such a pattern of consumption growth was seen was back in the mid-80s – before the “potato diet” austerity package, tax reforms and increased interest rates put a stop to that particular spending spree.
There are several reasons behind the strong upsurge in private consumption in recent years. First and foremost, Danes have had more money in their pockets, having enjoyed tax cuts, low interest rates and handsome real wage growth. On top of this, wealth has soared. In fact, Danes have never been better off. Every Dane possesses a net wealth of DKK 850,000 – a rise of DKK 400,000 since 1998.
The housing market has been the prime reason behind the surge in wealth in Den-mark. In the past year alone, house prices have risen by around 25%. This stimulates private consumption, as greater wealth holdings reduce the need to accrue savings. Furthermore, some homeowners have chosen to release a portion of their home equity for consumption purposes.
Looking beyond 2006, we expect that consumption growth will slow to a more moderate level. Stable and continuing real wage growth in the region of 2%, a robust labour market and the wealth gains of recent years will tend to support high levels of private consumption growth. Pulling in the opposite direction will be rising interest rates, high energy prices and the endogenous dynamic in consumption. Overall, consumption looks set to grow by around 2.2% in 2007.
The following Company Profiles have been submitted by the Advertisers in this issue
Dansk Tefilter A/S
Phone: + 45 64823845
Fax: + 45 64824508
Teafilter’s from Dansk Tefilter A/S to the true lovers of tea throughout the industrialized world of today, tea made from teabags is just accepted due to the easiness of making and disposal of waste. She/he would however prefer to have their nose tickled by tea made from loose leaf teas.
Now the brewing with loose leaf teas can be enjoyed just as easy as with teabags, by means of the teafilter. You put the desired quantity of tealeaves into the teafilter ,leave it with a slip of paper over the edge of the teapot ( or thermos ) and pour boiling water on. After the correct infusing time the tea and teafileter is deposed of just like the teabag. Dansk Tefilter A/S is a 25 years old company, now run by 2.nd generation. Our main customers are the Danish supermarket chains, but over 40% of our production is exported to countries where speciality shops have realized this unique way of making tea with loose leaf tea and the teafilter.
Holvrieka Danmark A/S
Phone + 45 87118425
+ 45 86428400
Fax: + 45 86403335
Holvrieka Danmark A/S is a part of the Dutch Burg group who have production in Holland, Belgium, South Africa, Finland and Den-mark.
Holvrieka Danmark A/S manufactures stainless steel tanks and process plants for the brewery industry, mineral water industry, dairies, pharmaceutical industry, food stuff industry, chemical technical industry etc.
The company is certified according to the following standards: ASME International, ASME Code Section VIII-1 (U Stamp) TÜV, HPO / EN 729-2 and 97/23/CE (PED) module D
SQLO for Import Boiler & Pressure Vessel, for export to China Gosgortechnadzor (GOST), for export to Russia ’TISK’ (GOST), for export to Ukraine Urzad Dozoru Technicznego (UDT), for export to Poland, and Lloyd’s Register, ISO 9001:2000
Phone: + 45 70266288
Phone: + 45 73202450
ICT A/S is a Danish transport -and logistic company offering services to Russia, CIS – countries and Central East Europe. We have a fleet of more than 600 units driving in the area on daily basis. We are situated in RUS – Moscow, KAZ – Atyrau, Almaty and Aktau (from October), UA – Kiev, LT –Klaipeda, LV – Riga and DK –Herning and Taulov.
We have a staff of 40 high skilled individuals and our focus is reliability, high service level and honesty. We have been working in the area for nearly 20 years and can offer services on: - normal tilt trailers - reefer trailer - extendable trailers - heavy equipment units - rail solutions - barge solutions via inland water ways We have experience inside commodities as industrial cargo - textiles - reefer cargo - oversize –and heavy - hazardous cargo Our statement is “doing our best is not enough – we have to do what is needed”.
Holger Danskes Vej 91
Phone: + 45 38323355
Fax: + 45 38323350
A direct line to qualified employees The internet has become the most important tool for Danish job seekers. It has overtaken traditional printed media in popularity as job databases now offer targeted searches and other recruitment services.
Denmark is renowned for its qualified and flexible labour force, but the positive economic development of recent times has also led to stiff competition for the most sought after employees.
Job seeking online has become a popular pastime for much of the population and this is where the fastest moving developments take place.
”Companies are not just making an effort to find employees, but also to find the right people. They can be difficult to attract, but it is possible with targeted profiling and searches” says Kaare Danielsen, Director of Jobindex Denmark’s largest job database with 45,000 daily visits.
”An increasing number of people who are not actively looking for a job still keep up with the job market and regularly visit the most important job sites. Many of them post their CVs on selected job databases or subscribe to search robots which forward them relevant job offers.” And this is where companies have to act if they want to reach the most sought after candidates. ”It’s a question of increasing your profiling and targeting your search”, explains Kaare Danielsen, whose company regularly launches new services to meet this need.
Increased profiling can be ’tailor-made’ for a particular target group – by using internet advertising and targeted banners – or it can be made wider and more innovative with other advertising forms to supplement targeted advertising.
When external profiling is insufficient, you have to ’dig deeper’ and this is where the most recent products of Jobindex have been successful. One of these is SemiSearch. ”In SemiSearch we identify potential candidates and contact them individually to encourage them to look at the particular job. This leads to qualified and motivated applicants – and compared with other options, the price is still reasonable”, concludes Kaare Danielsen.
Phone: +45 87 93 83 00
Fax: +45 86 57 16 25
SILHORKO-EUROWATER A/S was founded in 1936 to provide pressure filter plants for treatment of water for the co-operative dairies in Denmark. Today, our expertise includes a broad and extensive knowledge about water treatment and we supply to customers worldwide within any line of business.
All our efforts are devoted to develop, manufacture, and market complete solutions within water treatment. Our experience consists of pre-treatment of water for countless of waterworks and private water supplies together with various fields of application within all kinds of industrial companies and institutions.
We are an independent company with more than 200 highly qualified employees of which almost half is employed in Denmark at our main office and factory. Internationally, we are represented in most of the European countries – either through subsidiary companies or local dealers that all are water treatment specialists.
Our relations with employees, customers, and co-operators build on close relationships of long standing.
This page forms part of the publication 'FOCUS Denmark' as Entire publication with graphics
Version 1. 07-11-2006
Publication may be found at the address http://www.netpublikationer.dk/um/7466/index.htm