Danish Crown expands into alt protein with first broad plant-based range
Danish Crown is a big name in meat. From fresh meat to cold cuts and sausages, the Danish operation - specialising in pork and beef - boasts a number of meat-centric brands within its portfolio.
These include Danish Crown Pure Pork, high welfare Bornholmer Grisen, organic-focused Friland, and Demark’s oldest brand, Tulip.
Having previously dipped its toe into plant-based water, Danish Crown is now releasing its first broad product range of plant-based food under its Den Grønne Slagter (The Green Butcher) brand in Denmark.
From veggie bites to Indian-inspired biryani
The range includes eight products, made up of ready meals and meal components based on peas and beans. All are free from soy, with either Nordic or organic vegetables as the main ingredient.
The full line consists of veggie mince, veggie bites, BBQ burger, nuggets, schnitzel and veggie patties, along with Indian-inspired dishes tandoori and biryani.
Danish Crown said the new range responds to growing demand for alternative proteins. According to consumer surveys, more than one in three Danes report they have reduced their meat consumption within the past 12 months, and two out of three intend to eat more plant-based products.
“We foresee growing demand for alternative proteins in the years ahead, so the products we are now launching represent our first small step into that market,” said Jais Valeur, Group CEO of Danish Crown.
In the short- and medium-term, Danish Crown expects a market for up to 500,000 meat-free meals per week in Denmark, which would the company aiming for revenue in the plant-based segment in the high double-digits of millions of Danish kroner already in 2022.
Preparation is key
The launch is not Danish Crown’s first venture into plant-based. The company has a couple of veggie ‘cold cuts’ on the market in Demark, as well as wider ranges of products via its subsidiaries in Sweden and Poland.
“But this is the first wider range launched in Denmark,” a company spokesperson told FoodNavigator.
The new line is designed to be ‘very easy to prepare’. “We have worked intensively with these products to develop the right taste, texture and preparation, and this work showed that preparation is key to obtaining a good experience from the products,” said Mette Schacht Færch, head of marketing and innovation at Danish Crown Nordics.
“Briefly said, several of the plant-based products must be fried at lower temperatures than meat, and this is one of the things we will now emphasis to consumers buying one of our products.”
Products for ‘any taste’
Danish Crown has yet to define a ‘full and final’ strategy for its initiatives in plant-based food, but said it plans to have products on supermarket shelves catering to ‘any taste’: from meat eaters to vegans.
“As [with] our meat, we want our plant-based food to be manufactured from Danish raw materials, and ideally from our owners; the Danish farmers.
“Whether that will be practically feasible is one of the issues we need to clarify in our strategy work,” said Valeur.
From this month, the new product range from Den Grønne Slagter will be available in select food retail chains and from the end of January, it will also be widely available in Danish supermarket coolers.
Concerning international expansion, a company spokesperson told us the businesses sees ‘growing interest’ for plant-based products in several markets in the EU. “So our recent launch on the Danish market is not limited to only Denmark.
“In fact, several of the products are also sold on the Swedish market and it is likely that we will investigate possibilities to launch in other countries in the future.”