A culture of innovation delivers the coffee of the future - Danish Food Cluster

Blog by Lars Aaen Thøgersen, Peter Larsen Kaffe

The amount of food waste must be halved in 2018. The staff is both creating and delivering the solution.

A culture of innovation delivers the coffee of the future

The future of coffee is under pressure, and that is why Peter Larsen Kaffe is betting on innovation by sending its employees to “innovation school” to learn to think in new, quirky, and different ways.

Every year, Peter Larsen Kaffe is present at the biggest festivals and cultural events in Denmark. And every year, we get a lot of great ideas and feedback from both consumers and the young employees working at our coffee bars. Some of this input has built the foundation for new products and different ways of imagining coffee, and we would like to continue working and growing this way. Therefore, we have established our very own “innovation school” where our employees can make improvements on the coffee of the future through new ways of thinking.

The innovation school adds an extra element to our continuous work with creating sustainable development since our employees possess giant reserves of innovative potential – one that we, at Peter Larsen Kaffe, are hoping to tap into. The targets of the innovation school – one of several new initiatives – are mammoth. By this summer, we expect to reduce the company’s food waste at the country’s festivals by a whopping 50 %. A goal chosen by the employees themselves, and a solution that the staff has come up with on its own and is implementing over the summer.

What do we do with the trash when the coffee cup is empty? The challenge is of immediate interest and the innovation school works with durable solutions.

Urgent development

This past winter, the Peter Larsen Kaffe baristas have been back at school. At the company’s innovation school, they have been trained in making improvements through fresh ways of thinking. These innovative solutions are badly needed as climate change is making life more and more difficult for coffee farmers. Unreliable weather conditions paired with rising temperatures, long periods of drought, and torrential rains are severely impacting farming. In the report “The Brewing Storm”, published in 2016 by the Climate Institute, scientists predict that coffee production will drop by 50 % by 2050.

But the coffee of the future is plagued by other problems as well. More and more young people in coffee-producing countries are choosing not to work with coffee at all, and this looks bleak for the future of the workforce. In fact, the average age of a coffee farmer today is 63 in Kenya and 52 in Columbia.

That’s why urgent development of new solutions and products are essential to the coffee industry, and we need to keep coming up with and implementing new, innovative ideas. At Peter Larsen Kaffe, we work systematically with solutions on every level from farm to table. For instance, we have projects involving 40,000 coffee farmers around the world, we’ve developed CO2 neutral coffee scooters, and we’re constantly searching for innovative opportunities to make packaging and distribution more environmentally friendly.

Win-win for the company and the employees

We want to embrace the modern work environment and its many possibilities, such as the opportunities that arise from having so many young people working with our organisation. At Peter Larsen Kaffe, we employ hundreds of young people. And aside from delivering coffee to the people, we strive to keep innovating. With our innovation school, we can accomplish this goal in a simple, structured, and comprehensible manner, and our staff benefit from receiving a diploma that can be added to their CVs. Through the innovation school, we can remix the ideas produced by our volunteers, staff, and the society around us so that we can get better at churning out improvements and new solutions.

We want to tap into our staff’s great potential for innovation.

Peter Larsen Kaffe is on a mission to lead the coffee industry back to a more sustainable path. The only way we can do this is through new thinking and unique solutions. Our innovation school provides our talented and dedicated employees with the tools to jump on new trends and impulses, go with the flow when necessary, and nurture great ideas. On their own, and as a team.

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About the author

Blog by Lars Aaen Thøgersen

Head of Communications and Development, Peter Larsen Coffee


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