Bård Jervan on why tourism needs food

Bård Jervan is a Senior Partner at Mimir. He was deeply involved in writing and developing the new Norwegian national Tourism Strategy for 2030. A cornerstone of the report is centered around food in tourism and how it connects to economic development. It’s also a way to preserve culture, protect natural resources, and trace history. Today, we dive into what sustainable tourism is, why the context of a meal matters, the best places to visit in Norway, why seafood is a major opportunity, and the Nordics as a gastronomic destination. 

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Puris's CEO Tyler Lorenzen on the power of peas

Based in Minnesota, Puris is the largest producer of pea protein in North America supplying the likes of Beyond Meat. Fast Company named them the most innovative food company in 2021 for their end-to-end solution to food production. To speak about the company’s philosophy, history, business model, and future, my guest today is CEO Tyler Lorenzen who runs the company alongside his sister Nicole Atchinson.

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Lakrids by Bülow's Founder on creating an iconic brand

If you’ve been to the Nordics, odds are you’ve tried licorice. In today’s episode, we dive into the story of the luxury licorice and chocolate company Lakrids by Bülow. Johan Bülow started cooking licorice in his mom’s kitchen on the Danish island of Bornholm in 2007. Fast forward to today and they’ve become an iconic brand with sales in 35 countries and counting. Their mission: to make the world love licorice. This episode traces the evolution of the company, diving into valuable lessons around food entrepreneurship, branding, and sales.

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The Miracle of Hemp on the Island of Bornholm

Signe Anker is the Co-Founder of Bornholmerhampen. She and her partner were some of the first people in Denmark to start growing hemp again. Today, they hand harvest it to produce teas, flours, oils, and cosmetics on the beautiful Danish island of Bornholm. In this episode, we explore why it’s considered a miracle crop, how it’s making a comeback, and the roots of its bad reputation.

As a listener of the podcast, get 20% off all Bornholmerhampen products using the code NORDICFOODTECH at checkout.

Episode Transcript

This episode was first published on October 16, 2020

The Story of Denmark's Billion Kroner Investment Into Plant-based

In October 2021, the Danish government announced that it was allocating 1 billion kroner or 168 million euro to ramp up plant-based food production. This is one of the largest investments into plant-based by any country to date. Join me and Rune-Christoffer Dragsdahl, the Secretary General of The Vegetarian Society of Denmark, as we discuss the details of the agreement and what it means for the future. It’s not just about politics, it’s also about culture, history, and relationships.

  • 9:30 The history and cultural significance of vegetarianism 
  • 19:00 How the Vegetarian Society of Denmark got started
  • 42:00 Details of the agreement
  • 56:00 Tips for other countries looking to do something similar

Chromologics' CEO Gerit Tolberg on natural vs artificial food colorants

There is a big trend in the food and cosmetic industry to move away from artificial colors and flavors, replacing them with natural ingredients. Gerit Tolborg is the CEO of Chromologics. Gerit describes herself as an accidental entrepreneur. Through her research at the Danish Technical University, she stumbled upon a way to naturally produce a red colorant using fungi and fermentation. Listen in as we discuss the business of artificial and natural ingredients, what it takes to build an R&D heavy startup, and the journey of becoming an entrepreneur when you never thought that was in the cards.

  • 2:09 Why companies are moving away from artificial colors
  • 9:40 Producing colors through precision fermentation
  • 16:00 How Chromologics started
  • 23:00 Building an R&D heavy startup 
  • 41:00 Challenges of being a female CEO

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Artist Alexandra Genis on 3D printing flavor molecules

Listen again. Artist and food designer Alexandra Genis is set on challenging your notion of artificiality and what sustainability means in the context of food production. Are natural and wild foods really better? We explore her work and how artificial foods, technology, and art can help us reimagine a better food system.

  • 1:50 The Atoma project, turning individual molecules into spices
  • 2:48 The complexity of flavor and the limits of what we can taste
  • 10:45 The importance of artificial foods in a post-agricultural age 
  • 22:00 Other projects Alexandra’s worked on 
  • 24:00 Vision for the future food system

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Dr. Mikelis Grivins on foraging and the blackmarket for wild foods

Listen again. Foraging exists in a delicate balanace with nature. If we take too much, it can lead to environmental degradation. At the same time, it survives as a cultural tradition and a key way families put food on the table. My guest today is Dr. Mikelis Grivins a researcher at the Baltic Studies Center. In this episode, we discuss the four kinds of foragers commonly seen in Europe, the ethics of foraging, and the black market that exists around wild foods.

  • 4:00 Overview of alternative food systems are important
  • 17:00 4 types of foragers across Europe
  • 20:20 Exploitation, transparency & regulation in the wild food market
  • 25:00 Wild washing

ICA on shifting the Swedish food system

ICA is one of the biggest grocery retailers in Sweden. Every week, around 12 million people pass through their stores. Recognizing the important role they play in the everyday life of Swedes, ICA is intent on supporting the shift to a sustainable food system. A system that supports biodiversity, plant-based, and local foods. They launched ICA Växa, a new unit of the organization, to bring new products to market and connect with the startup community. Today, I speak with Jacqueline Engdahl, the Head of ICA Växa, to hear what exactly their up to. 

  • 6:00 ICA’s vision for the next 100 years
  • 8:50 Jacqueline’s story
  • 19:00 What ICA Växa does
  • 32:00 Different pathways of getting into ICA from pitching the category manager to the store owner or co-branding with ICA’s private label.

Chef Gunnar Karl Gíslason on Iceland's food traditions

Gunnar Karl Gíslason is the founding chef behind Dill, which was the first restaurant in Iceland to receive a Michelin star. He is also the author of North: The New Northern Cuisine of Iceland. In this episode, we trace Iceland’s food traditions through the individuals that are helping to keep them alive

  • 2:15 Rundown of Gunnar’s career and opening a res 
  • 7:30 Defining New Nordic food and the Icelandic kitchen 
  • 16:00 Finding inspiration in old traditions
  • 33:00 The evolution of the Icelandic kitchen 

We also reference this episode with Amass on creating a zero-waste kitchen. As well as Saltverk’s startup story. 

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