Denmark might be a small northern European country, but it shows perhaps the biggest commitment to a lifestyle and business practices based on social and environmental responsibility. The Danes are resourceful and have good eye for product design and taste, two strong attributes that have earned them worldwide recognition. These are also reflected in the high quality and sustainable foods they produce. The small Nordic country has the highest consumption of organic food per capita in the world followed by Switzerland and Austria.
Denmark aims to serve 60 percent organic food at Danish public kitchens, a goal included in the national budget and supported by Denmark’s Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Mette Gjerskov last December. The Government has reserved 72 million DKK over two years to convert public kitchens to use more organic food. Every day 500,000 meals are served in hospitals, schools, care homes and other public institutions in Denmark. Experiences show that running a kitchen with a healthier and organic food range is possible within the existing budgets by reducing food waste, buying food according to the season, use of more vegetables and less meat.
Visiting Danish organic companies or meeting them at fairs like Anuga and BioFach is a rewarding experience. Although demand in their own country is strong, there is always room for exports and for imports. Some of the firms also distribute imported foods in the local market. Their natural export market is Germany, a nation with high appetite for the combination of artisan and organic certified Danish delicacies presented for 13 years by the marketing platform Bio aus Denmark at Germany’s main food events. This umbrella assists its members with logistics, market information and direct promotion for export. “Denmark is a small country that has learned to be creative with the resources available”, says Malene Aaris, founder and project manager at Bio aus Denmark. “Most of our members are not companies known for large production volumes, but for their ability to combine tradition with new ways to present their offer, without compromising quality, service, packaging and taste”. From smooth goat cheese by Tebstrup Gedeosteri, ice cream from Peters Eis and the exquisite yogurt and milk varieties from Thiese to heavenly chocolates and spreads offered by Woodshade Organics, trout by Danforel, salami by Hanegal or beer and by smoothies from Ørbæk Bryggeri – Naturfrisk, there will certainly be a balanced combination of tasty and nutritious foods from Denmark to be discovered or recognized at BioFach in Nuremberg this coming February 15-18.
At Ørbæk Bryggeri something new is always brewing
With the raise of health conscious lifestyles, alcohol-free fermented drinks are in, and so are authentic artisan organic beers. And the Danes have been avid innovators in the art and technology of brewing. Ask Niels and Nicolai Romer, who in 1997 took over Ørbæk Bryggeri – Naturfrisk A/S an old brewery established in 1906, to turn it into an exciting venture to develop not only unique English style beers, but also an attractive range of soft drinks, ciders and delicious smoothies. Using only the finest organic ingredients and brewing process, Ørbæk Bryggeri has been recognized for its innovation and tasteful beverages with elaborate labels in an attractive retro look. Last November it won Bronze medal at The European Beer Star 2011 in the herbs and spices category, where it already won a Gold medal as well. The company exhibited at Anuga 2011 for the first time and will be back at BioFach in Germany.
Happy goats, reveal secret to Tebstrup Gedeosteri
There are outstanding goat cheese brands in the market, but the outstanding taste and texture of Tebstrup’s is exquisite. The key for great quality cheese is in the milk, which reflects the diet and care the goats receive and their mood. At this organic certified dairy the 500 goats milked twice a day seem to truly enjoy moving freely outdoors and grazing the rest of the time. The cheese is made with 100 percent goat milk, culture, rennet and sea salt. That’s it. But the end product is really a delightful cheese, result of over 20 years of the hard work of dairy founder and managing director Dorothy Sorensen and her team. She likes goats and in the 1980’s had a few at her place in the countryside. A dairy engineer suggested the idea to produce her own cheese. She started practising with ten goats and really enjoyed the idea and the project took off. But it is not an easy business. Goats are curious like little children and have very sensitive stomachs. Over the years the operation has grown, at a pace that the goats can still get individual attention. If at Tebstrup the goats enjoy a great life, the cheese will tell the rest of the story.