Denmark brings industry to the table: ‘Gastronomy inspires collaboration across the food value chain’

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

Denmark's capital city, Copenhagen ©GettyImages/scanrail
Denmark's capital city, Copenhagen ©GettyImages/scanrail

Related tags Denmark Restaurant Copenhagen

Representatives from Denmark’s food industry have contributed to the development of government initiatives that aim to strengthen Danish gastronomy, attract tourists and promote sustainability.

The Danish government has committed DKK 40m (€5.3m) to its ‘Gastro 2025’ initiative, designed to strengthen and develop the nation’s “forefront position”​ in gastronomy.

Launched last week, the project covers seven initiatives developed by the Team Gastro group of experts from various fields, including food manufacturers.

“[The] food processing industry has been part of the Team Gastro, who delivered ideas to the government,” ​senior advisor of food and veterinary at the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark, Nanna Britt Danielsen Marklund, told FoodNavigator.

The initiatives fall under seven categories:

  • Gastronomy Academy
  • Joint Marketing
  • World Food Summit – Better Food for More People
  • Culinary Diplomacy
  • Export Promotion – alliances and simplification
  • Gastronomic Travelling Squad
  • Fund for Culinary Development

Industry interest

Of the seven initiatives (available here​ ​in full), Britt Danielsen Marklund told us that food manufacturers may be impacted directly by two: “Part of the initiatives, especially joint marketing and culinary diplomacy, gain food industry interest.”

“But part of the rationale, from our side, is that gastronomy inspires the collaboration across the food value chain, and between industry, authorities and academia,” ​she continued.

‘Joint marketing’ refers to marketing campaigns that leverage Denmark’s gastronomy as a ‘signature’ for both the food and tourism industries.

These marketing efforts will be co-funded by international and government partners and will target priority markets, “ensuring that the effort will have the greatest effect”.

‘Culinary diplomacy’ aims to promote Danish gastronomy on the international stage through export drives and ‘special events’ at Danish embassies abroad, and the objective of ‘Export promotion’ is to create new opportunities between Danish producers and the Trade Council’s global network.

“There is a potential in letting companies enter into new, innovative, and strategic alliances. The Trade Council incorporates gastronomy in its available media platforms as well as in the daily advice to the Danish companies in the industry,” ​explained the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark in a statement.

A gastronomic culture

Behind the initiative is a relatively new, yet strong, culture of gastronomy in Denmark.

”Over the last 15 years, Danish chefs have managed to put Denmark on the gastronomic world map. The government would like to help recognise this effort and advance its contributions to sustainability, economy, and culture,” ​said Denmark’s minister of environment and food, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen.

Denmark is therefore harnessing this reputation to promote change: ”We must ensure that the gastronomy benefits us all through healthier food, increased tourism and exports,” ​Ellemann-Jensen continued.

Within the gastronomic landscape, Denmark stands out in organic food production, sustainability and cooperation.

michelin stars
Denmark has a strong gastronomic culture ©Michelin Guide

”These strengths are in large part the outcome of collaborative efforts across the food value chain and between industry, authorities and academia,” ​wrote Ellemann-Jensen in the recently published paper​: ’Gastronomy: The Diverse and highly specialised competences of the Danish Food Cluster’.

”This cooperation drives our successful innovation and keeps us ahead of the next trends, so we continue to create new, high-quality products, inspired by gastronomy,” ​he continued.

”The Danish government recognises and supports these great gastronomical efforts. Our national Gastro 2025 initiative has now provided a framework for the future development of gastronomy in Denmark – both as a means to innovation and for addressing global sustainability challenges. We believe gastronomy stretches way beyond traditional perceptions.”

Gastro 2025 will also see investment in a Gastronomy Academy, to be run by the non-profit organisation, the Committee of MAD Symposium.

”The ambition is to create an institution that will be internationally sought-after and recognised for strengthening the gastronomic sector in its efforts to bring about environmental and behavioural change towards a sustainable way of living, as expressed in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” ​writes the government.

The MAD Food Organization was founded by Danish chef René Redzepi in 2011, of restaurant Noma fame.

The organisation puts on the MAD Symposium every year – an event that brings chefs, farmers, academics, thinkers and artists together from around the world to discuss global challenges.

MAD’s mission statement is ’to expand knowledge of food to make every meal a better meal; not just at restaurants, but every meal cooked and served. Good cooking and a healthy environment can and should go hand-in-hand, and the quest for a better meal can leave the world a better place than we found it. MAD is committed to producing and sharing this knowledge and is taking promising ideas from theory to practice.’

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