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Innovative Denmark can deliver plant-based products

In the past three years there has been a rapid growth in the plant-based category globally, and Danish agriculture and food companies and research institutions are ready to deliver on this category throughout the entire value chain.

When asked to think of food from Denmark you might be mentioning bacon, butter and butter cookies. But the Danish food cluster provides consumers all over the world with so much more. The Danish agricultural land provides optimal conditions for growing plants that can either be eaten straight away or be processed into plant-based beverages or food products.

Danish food innovation has recently led to a wide range of products providing alternative protein sources to the market. As an example, the Danish company Naturli’ Foods should be mentioned, who produce everything from pea-based ‘minced’, and ‘sausages’ to ‘vegan spreadable’ vegan ‘ice dream’ made from oat drink. Also, the Danish companies Fairdig, Planteslagterne and Simple Feast can be mentioned as companies that produces respectively a wide range of plant-based ready to eat meals and vegan/vegetarian meal boxes.

Throughout the whole food value chain there is a keen focus on innovative product development of plant-based products. Large Danish food companies with normal expertise in animal-based food and beverages are also presenting plant-based solutions, such as the largest dairy cooperative Arla foods. They have with their unique expertise and innovative power launched a new plant-based beverage; JÖRD that includes natural Nordic raw materials such as hemp and barley.

Plant-based products still to be improved

Plant-based food and beverages are still a new type of goods and most consumers do not know what to expect from this category yet. Therefore, manufactures face the challenge of offering healthy and sustainable products, that also has a high sensory quality and does not include a long ingredient list.

Ingredient and bioscience companies in Denmark such as DuPont, Palsgaard and Chr. Hansen have deep knowledge within the different functionalities of plant-based ingredients that can heighten the category and get even more consumers engaged in eating plant-based products and protein alternatives.

At Danish research institutions, plant-based food products are in focus and the challenge of using as few ingredients as possible, is something researchers at Technical University of Denmark (DTU) have been experimenting with. They have identified lactic acid bacteria from Danish plants, which can be used to make a 100% vegan yogurt alternative with just three ingredients including spent grain – a side stream from beer production, which makes the product more sustainable and increases its fibre content.

Innovation is strong across the whole value chain

Since the plant-based category began to emerge, the food manufacturers task has been about delivering plant-based food and beverage products to meet the consumer demands whereas now, manufacturers should focus more on improving the plant-based category. Regardless if it is research institutions, the primary sector, ingredients companies or processing companies, the Danish agriculture and food companies are able to deliver high quality plant-based food and beverage products to the growing consumer demand.