Publiceret: 15.12.2016Af Felix Bekkersgaard Stark mail
If you buy an ice cream anywhere in the world, there is a 50% chance that it contains or is produced from ingredients supplied by a Danish company.
If you buy a loaf of bread, this probability is reduced to ‘only’ 25%. Overall, Danish companies account for 14% of the world ingredients market.
These are the findings of a new report published by the Technical University of Denmark in partnership with DI Fødevarer and a range of Danish food companies.
“Ingredients are a genuine world-wide success story for Denmark. Danish companies help both Danish and foreign food producers to develop new products, ensure high levels of food safety, reduce the consumption of resources and improve taste and quality in a wide range of areas,” says Industry Director Leif Nielsen from the Confederation of Danish Industry.
Read the 'Knowledge is the most important ingredient report' in its entirety (in Danish)
But the report shows that opportunities in this sector are even greater, especially for companies like Glycom which produces ‘human milk oligosaccharides’ (sugar compounds) which are added to formula milk to make it healthier. The sale of formula milk is experiencing very rapid growth in Asia and parts of South America which pushes annual growth up to 7-9% per annum. The global market is estimated to be worth more than USD 60 billion.
According to the report, Glycom is among at least three Danish companies active in this market. But Glycom needs to recruit people with wide-ranging experience – especially in industrial biotechnology processes.
“There is a big difference in having worked on fermentation in a laboratory at the Technical University of Denmark and running a process at production level. But this type of industry is very closed. It is difficult to expect young employees to have experience of our production when we never invite them in, for example as part of their Engineering course. This comes back to bite us,” says Chief Scientific Officer Niels Banke from Glycom.
KMC (Kartoffel-Mel-Centralen = Potato Starch Centre) is having major problems attracting the right kind of employees for advanced biotechnology that improves the utilisation of potatoes as dietary fibre and protein.
“Young people prefer to help solve the riddle of cancer than work with potato starch. They are not aware of how advanced this biotechnology really is. This is true in general for the ingredients industry,” says Ole Bandsholm Sørensen, head of research and development, according to the report.
In the report, the Technical University of Denmark sets out a range of recommendations for itself, including the recommendation that the university should partner with other universities to set up a PhD programme in Ingredients Research and help to ensure that more entrepreneurs get involved in the field of ingredients.
“DI Fødevarer believes that it is positive that the Technical University of Denmark wants to contribute to strengthening and futureproofing this successful sector. The big opportunities for growth in the field of ingredients can only be met through extensive research and development. That is why it is important to support the unique environment we have in Denmark which offers close collaboration between universities and the business community. This is an important argument when we talk about retaining development activities in Denmark and safeguarding growth and jobs,” says Leif Nielsen from the Confederation of Danish Industry.