Will the food industry dramatically change or die?

A revolution is coming and the food community needs to be brave, think radical and work together. The future was on the agenda in Danish Food Cluster last week. Get the highlights here.

How can we create more radical innovation? What are the challenges for the Danish food entrepreneurs? How can we benefit from collaborating with Israel? Who will be our next international partner?

The future of the Danish food industry has been on the agenda this week and the above are some of the questions that have come up at the many exciting events, which have taken place during International Food Week of Denmark, from 24. August to 9. September.

We are entering a foodtech revolution,” said Michal Drayman, CFO, Jerusalem Venture Partner, among the ten best performing venture capitals in the world, in her opening presentation at European Food Venture Forum 2018, on Thursday 6. September.

Entering a future world with not enough food to feed the world population and an environment that we need to take care of – this calls for radical innovation:

Food companies will dramatically chance or die, agriculture must find a way to grow more with less and start-up companies will create ground-breaking solutions,“ was another point made by Michal Drayman.

Denmark is no. 1 in food innovation, but when it comes to radical innovation, we are not the top pupil in class – a theme that was discussed at a round table, organized by Danish Food Cluster and Innovation Fund Denmark, at the Food Festival at Tangkrogen on Friday 7. September.

The Israeli on the other hand are the top pupils in class having one of the highest percentage of start-ups developing products that’s first of its kind, why Danish Food Cluster’s Israeli guests, Michal Drayman and Nadav Berger, Founder of PeakBridge Foundation, EIT Venture Partner, participated the Round Table along with representatives from state, start-ups and corporates:

  • Peter Høngaard, CEO, Innovations Fund Denmark
  • Esben Laulund, chairman Danish Food Cluster and SVP Chr. Hansen
  • Anders Kühnau, chairman Central Denmark Region
  • Michael Haase, Founder, Plant Jammer
  • Niclas Luthman, Founder, Nick’s, LUB Food
  • Jakob Knudsen, CEO, Arla Foods Denmark
  • So how can Denmark become better at radical innovation?

Be brave,” said Michal Drayman at the round table, “be brave in your approach to new products, be brave in collaborations.

But it’s not only the innovative thinking and bravery that’s a problem, when it comes to developing more radical innovation, it’s also the access to the consumer that is a backstop for Danish start-ups:

The distribution in sales channels are a big issue for entrepreneurs,” said Peter Høngaard, director, Innovation Fund Denmark.

Here Food Festival is a great example of bringing the small food players closer to the consumer.

But Denmark also has many strengths in our old food industry and large corporates, was a point made by Jakob Knudsen, CEO, Arla Foods Denmark, at the round table:

Denmark comes from a culture of radical innovation, for instance Arla farmers came together and outcompeted the landlords, which resulted in Lurpak. And we do collaborate. We at Arla have placed our Innovations Centre in Agro Food Park, and we do collaborate with university and accelerace.

Denmark and Israel both have strengths and weaknesses, and the combination of the two is very complementary according to Nadav Berger:

In Israel you will find no big industries and big markets, but you will properly find the best entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial spirit, but what we lack is the scale up, the industry and the market, as our market is small. When we come to Denmark, we find people that have industry, a couple of the globale manufacturers like Arla, Danish Crown and Chr. Hansen.

And according to Lone Ryg Olsen, this alliance with Israel is the ideal way to prepare the Danish food industry for a global future:

A free flow of ideas, investment and talent between a number of the most innovative food hubs in the world is what we need to provide the much-needed global food solutions. The recipe for these alliances might not be the same as the one with Israel, but a collaborative alliance is the basic ingredients.

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