Photo: National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark

Research to boost growth in ingredients

Thursday 25 Sep 14
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Anders Permin
Head of project (guest)
National Food Institute
The National Ingredient Center, NIC, will help to create new growth in food ingredients. The NIC has been established by a number of partner companies, universities, industry organizations and authorities—at the initiative of the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark.

Denmark is a world leader within the production of food and feed ingredients, but the companies call for more research, education and innovation, if we are to retain our competitive edge.

The new National Ingredient Center (NIC) is a partnership between a number of companies, universities, industry organizations, and authorities. NIC was opened on 17 September at the domicile of the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) in Copenhagen, with the Danish Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Dan Jørgensen, in attendance. National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark is the initiator behind NIC. The idea is to strengthen cooperation between companies, universities, and knowledge institutions.

Ingredients can be used to add, for example, flavour and consistency to food products. Examples of ingredients include bacteria cultures for dairy products, emulsifiers that prevent sauces from separating and gelling agents for jams.
Denmark is an international leader

With a world market share of 14 per cent, Danish companies hold a leading international position within the production of ingredients. The industry posts annual revenues of DKK 32 billion, with 98 per cent being generated by exports. It has a combined workforce of 18,000 employees.

The Danish ingredients industry is made up of a number of large companies with large R&D departments that are used to working with universities, but also small and medium-sized companies without large R&D departments or experience in partnering with universities.

In a report from the Ingredient Forum of the Danish Food and Drink Federation (an organization under DI) published in 2013, the ingredients industry expressed a wish for easier access to collaboration with universities.
NIC is established as a centre without walls; administratively and strategically it will be associated with the research and innovation platform inSPIRe.

The centre has been established by the Danish Food and Drink Federation (DI), the Danish Agriculture & Food Council, the Danish Technological Institute, Aarhus University, University of Aalborg, Technical University of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, University of Southern Denmark, Zealand Institute of Business and Technology and Metropolitan University College.

Statements about NIC

Anders Permin, Deputy Director at the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark:
"NIC is a joint Danish venture which has been established at the initiative of the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark. It is important for research and knowledge institutions to engage in broadly based partnerships with industries and authorities, and the establishment of the National Ingredient Center will serve that very purpose. The centre structure will help to pave the way for establishing large-scale joint projects and consortia, among other things with a view to applying for large and international research grants."

Ole Linnet Juul, Director General, Danish Food and Drink Federation (DI):
"Continued growth within the field of food is reliant on more research and education, among other things. NIC provides a new platform for developing new ingredients, new food products and new processes as well as for better leveraging global opportunities."

Anne Borghegn, Director, Danish Agriculture & Food Council:
"NIC will significantly strengthen companies in the feed and food ingredients industry, and we expect the companies to realize more synergies thanks to the universities' research and education activities. It will allow the companies to develop their business and competencies, thereby making them considerably more competitive in the global market. Ingredients and feed companies are important members of the Danish food cluster, and NIC will therefore also be able to strengthen the collaboration between ingredients companies and the other players in the cluster—from technology manufacturers to dairies, slaughterhouses, and other processing companies which use large volumes of food and feed ingredients in their production."