Danish Crown’s ‘record breaking’ DKK2bn investment to ‘future-proof production’

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

Danish Crown steps up investment in production for 2021 / Pic: GettyImages-Jupiterimages
Danish Crown steps up investment in production for 2021 / Pic: GettyImages-Jupiterimages

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Meat group Danish Crown is increasing its investment budget by 25% this year, with a focus on automation and increased production.

Danish Crown's total investment expenditure will increase from DKK1.6 billion last year to around DKK 2 billion in 2021. Investments are planned across the group's business areas, the company revealed today.

Automation for increased competitiveness

The company said it will invest in automation to ‘further improve’ working conditions and ‘future proof production’.

“It is crucial for us to keep investing decisively in our production facilities through continued automation. This is the way to enhance both the working environment and our competitiveness – which in turn is the way to secure jobs. So even though we invest a huge amount, it makes sense in every possible way,”​ Jais Valeur, Group CEO of Danish Crown, explained.

In the coming year, the palletizing area at Danish Crown’s abattoir in Horsens will be expanded and upgraded with an investment in a new ‘multi-million kroner’ robot setup. The company noted this will improve efficiency as well as ‘spare thousands of lifts’ for its employees the packing centre which, despite mechanical aids, remain a ‘recognised physical burden’, the pork manufacturer said.

Danish Crown Pork accounts for the largest share of the company’s revenue and will command the lion’s share of the group’s investment plan.

In addition to the investment in Horsens, there will also be ‘major investments’ in the abattoirs in Blans and Ringsted. In Blans, changing and office facilities are to be expanded and modernized, and the abattoir will see new equipment in the cutting department, while in Ringsted, investment will establish a facility to produce a special minced product for the Japanese market.

“In Ringsted, we will invest in a new setup that will produce exclusively for Japanese customers, which will create 30-40 new jobs, because in addition to the necessary manpower to operate the facilities, we also need more people in the deboning department to secure enough raw materials for production,”​ explained Søren F. Eriksen, CEO of Danish Crown Pork.

Increased capacity to fuel growth

Another ‘major investment’ is planned in Germany, where the capacity for producing ham for pizzas at the factory in Dinklage is to be increased.

In recent years, Danish Crown has captured market share in the European pizza toppings market, most notably in the pepperoni category. Now the capacity and range will be expanded, the company revealed.

“Toppings is one of the markets in growth in Danish Crown Foods, where Danish Crown Toppings in Thorning produces large volumes of pepperoni for the pizza industry every year. Now we are expanding our repertoire with new lines in Dinklage, where we can make ready-cooked ham products in several formats, and in turn, align us more closely with our customers,”​ said Kasper Lenbroch, Danish Crown Foods CEO.

“With the new production facilities, we will increase our market share in the ham segment of the toppings market through Danish Crown Toppings' sales channels with an almost fully automated and very modern setup,”​ he predicted.

Cutting carbon footprint and environmental impact

In addition to these projects, plans include multi-million kroner investments in efforts further improve working conditions and to drive reductions in the group's climate footprint and environmental impact.

Danish Crown aims to halve its climate footprint by 2030 and be climate neutral by 2050. The company said this ambition spans ‘all parts of the value chain’.

“We will inject funds to reduce our consumption of water and energy. In the quest to secure our position as the world's most sustainable food producer in our industry, this will be a direction consistently pursued in the coming years for us,”​ concluded group CEO Valeur.

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