January 10, 2022

Danish Crown launches plant-based products


Danish Crown, Europe's biggest producer of pork and Denmark's largest beef processor, has released a new range of plant-based, vegetarian products.

The products are to compete for market share with traditional meat – the company's primary source of revenue.

But the company has now plans to cut down on its meat production, Danish broadcaster DR writes.

"Of course we are a butcher's, but we are also a food producer, so when consumer demands change, we change with them. If there's a market opportunity, we'll be there too," Danish Crown chief executive officer Jais Valeur said.

The company expects to sell its vegetarian products for "a large figure in the tens of millions (of Danish kroner)" in 2022, with that rising in the future.

There are currently no plans to reduce its meat production and sales, but that could change depending on market forces and the success of the plant line, Valeur added.

"If plant-based food grows as explosively as some people think it will, then it will replace something else and it will be the best product that wins," he said.

"If just under 10% of Danes eat vegetarian, it could well become 10% of our business, which could well become worth billions [of kroner, ed.] in turnover if we are successful with it."

An expert praised Danish Crown for taking a step towards plant-based food, while a charity said the company was missing a chance to cut emissions and take a genuine step by cutting meat production.

"It's hugely important that the existing food industry also gets on board (with switiching to more plant-based food). That will push development forward much faster than if it was new start-ups alone driving it," Jørgen E. Olesen, a climate researcher from Aarhus University and former member of the United Nations' climate panel, said.

"The problem is that (Danish Crown) do not take the next logical step and say that they will cut back on their meat production. It is a genuine and good initiative but I think it's incredibly problematic that they are not seizing this as an opportunity to really transform their business," Greenpeace's campaign leader Kristine Clement said.

Valeur commented that "it's not the case that we want to have many pigs at all costs, but as we see the market at the moment, we believe production of pork can be maintained at around the level it is today while also having room for plant-based production."

- The Local