In the 1980s, their organic vision rapidly won the support of the nation. Since then, the Danish government has created the optimum conditions for nurturing organic innovation and growth.
Today, Denmark has earned a reputation as the leading nation for organic food production and know-how.
At home, our organic food products have a bigger share of the retail market than anywhere else in the world.
The organic mindset is at the root of the high consumer trust in Danish organic foods – and is among the guiding principles of New Nordic Cuisine.
Altogether, that makes Denmark a strong base for international organic growth.
The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals are our guide
Many organic farmers, food producers and other stakeholders have pledged their active support to the sustainable development goals. At national level, we see the SDGs as a guiding light for establishing best food production practices, prioritising research and development efforts and identifying innovation targets that will drive us towards a sustainable future.
AN ORGANIC REVOLUTION POWERED BY COOPERATION
THE CROSS-SECTOR COMMITMENT TO A COMMON JOURNEY
A movement driven by many
Visitors to Denmark are often struck by the degree of interaction between organic farmers, food companies, organisations and the government.
Stakeholders from across the value chain, from farmer to consumer, have driven the development of a sector where nature, animal welfare and sustainability are prime considerations.
The organic revolution began in our cooperative dairies. As a result, Denmark is now the home of the world’s largest organic dairy, Arla, and several other Danish dairies rank among the leaders in major organic export markets.
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Denmark launched the world’s first organic food label in the 1980s and has led the organic movement ever since
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SUSTAINABLE AMBITIONS START ON THE FARM
DANISH ORGANIC FARMERS TAKE PRIDE IN BEING THE BEST
The tireless effort to improve
The number of organic farmers in Denmark rises every year.
Each farm is guided by organic rules for producing good raw materials with utmost consideration for the environment, biodiversity and animal welfare. Efficiency and sustainability go hand in hand.
Most Danish organic farmers receive three to five years of specialist agricultural training – ensuring a high level of professionalism and quality in their production.
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of Danish farmers are organic producers
of Denmark’s agricultural land is under organic cultivation
From conventional to organic production
Before products can be certified as organic, farmers must complete a two-year conversion. Crop rotation keeps the soil fertile and breaks weed and pest cycles. Legumes, crop residues and livestock manure add nutrients.
The yield from organic crops is typically 10% to 30% lower than conventional.
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SCALING UP PRODUCTION IN AN INNOVATIVE UNIVERSE
A RELIABLE BRAND CREATES STRONG CONSUMER TRUST
A flair for organic innovation
Danish consumers buy more organic food products per capita than consumers anywhere else in the world. Organic food sales are also rising rapidly in hotels and restaurants, canteens, institutions and hospitals.
The achievement is all due to the organic mindset of a growing number of producers and retailers and their ability to earn consumer trust and create exciting innovations.
Today, organic food products are widely available in Danish retail and food service. In recent years, organic sales to the food service sector have grown 20% annually.
The success of the Danish organic sector reflects a fine-tuned ability to meet the consumer need for convenience
STATE CHECKS AND LABELS ARE THE CONSUMERS’ GUARANTEE
COMPLIANCE WITH EU REGULATIONS - AND WAY BEYOND
Regulatory inspections keep credibility in check
The Danish government passed the world’s first organic legislation in 1987. This was when the first state-controlled organic label - the ‘Ø label’ - was introduced.
Today, the organic control programme is still the consumers’ guarantee that all stakeholders from farm to fork comply with EU organic regulations.
Organic farmers and feed and food companies must also comply with the legislation that applies to food production in general – in respect of the environment, nature, animal welfare, traceability, hygiene and food safety.
of Danes buy organic products
buy organic food every week
recognize the Danish ‘Ø’ organic label
A CULINARY JOURNEY WITH ORGANIC ROOTS
THE SUSTAINABLE MINDSET BEHIND NEW NORDIC CUISINE
Gastronomy with an organic heart
New Nordic Cuisine has put Denmark on the gastronomic world map. Organic food has played an important role in this culinary journey.
It started in 2004 when a group of visionary chefs joined forces to create a new Nordic food culture.
The founding idea was to use natural, locally sourced and seasonal raw materials in an innovative and creative way.
Throughout the Danish food service sector, around 10% of raw material purchases are now organic – and rising.
THE NATIONAL PLAN FOR ROLLING INNOVATION
COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS PUT KNOWLEDGE INTO ACTION
Organic research and innovation – a national priority
Government-backed research and innovation have supported the development of Denmark’s market-driven organic sector for more than two decades.
The initial Organic Action Plan was launched in 1995.
A year later, the government introduced the first national research programme for organic farming and food production – a four-year initiative involving 11 Danish research institutions.
Since then, ongoing research programmes have enabled Denmark’s international reputation as a leader in organic farming.
Photo: Aarhus University, Department of Agroecology
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Quality & Safety
A safe, high-quality food supply is the backbone of the Danish food industry
Population growth, climate change and food security have pushed food quality and safety to the top of the global agenda. Denmark is a leading player in driving standards for safe, high-quality food.
The ingredient sector is a one-stop shop for solving the challenges of the global feed and food industry
Danish ingredient companies enable feed and food producers to make better use of resources, improve access to nutrition and support the health and wellbeing of livestock and consumers.
Cross-disciplinary collaboration is an outstanding feature of the Danish food and agriculture sector
Since the founding of the first cooperative 150 years ago, collaboration, knowledge sharing and mutual trust have made the Danish food cluster one of the most innovative in the world.