Esben Lunde Larsen, Denmark’s Minister for Environment and Food, signed the deal on 3 May as part of a four-day government state visit to Beijing.
It is a deal worth 250m Danish kroner ($36m). However, this is a cautious estimate and the Danish Agriculture & Food Council representative, present when the agreement was signed, told this site they believed the sausage export deal could have “even bigger potential”.
Danish Crown, which is currently looking at plans to build a pork factory in Shanghai, said the export deal was of “almost inestimable value” for the business.
“For the Danish Crown Group, [the agreement] means that we now have the opportunity to test both the retail sector and the foodservice sector in the Chinese market before our investment in our factory in Shanghai is ready,” said Jais Valeur, group CEO of Danish Crown.
Tulip Food Company, a subsidiary of Danish Crown, has been ready to start exports to China for a number of years and claims to already have a reputable name in Asia.
Thanks to the new agreement between Denmark and China, Tulip Food Company will be able to export sausages and salami from its factory in Svenstrup and canned meats from its facility in Vejle.
“China is a difficult yet, at the same time, incredibly exciting market,” added Tulip Food Company's CEO Kasper Lenbroch.
“We are obviously thrilled that the approval now appears to be in place. It is still too early to set specific targets for our exports, but it is clear that this approval offers very interesting perspectives.
“China is a vast country with huge potential and the Chinese already consume more than half of the world’s pork – this is definitely a breakthrough for Danish exports.”
China is a market of almost 1.5bn consumers and accounts for roughly a fifth of the world’s population, making it a lucrative export market. A growing middle class in affluent parts of China are increasingly demanding meat, particularly pork, that scores highly against food safety and animal welfare parameters.
Valeur believes Danish Crown will soon have an “ideal set-up in China”.
He said: “Extensive and well-incorporated exports of fresh pork from Denmark will now be boosted by heat-treated products, such as sausages and canned products. This will soon be complemented with local production based on Danish raw materials, which will put us in an extremely strong position in what has become Danish Crown’s most important market.”