In February this year, meat processor Danish Crown subsidiary the Tulip Food Company received permission from China regulators to export heat-treated meat, including ham, sausages and pepperoni. Now, the company is eyeing increased sales: “It is hard to project. But it could easily be much more if the Chinese really start buying our products,” Danish Crown head of press Jens Hansen told GlobalMeatNews, citing the €50m potential.
It is an important decision for the Danish meat industry as a whole, coming after decade-long negotiations, Denmark environment and food minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said in a note. The first three containers of heat-treated meat were sent last month (June). “It has taken 10 years to obtain all the permits that have secured Tulip Food Company’s export opportunity,” the minister said. And since the receipt of final permits in February 2018, “it has been hard to get everything done for the big day”, the minister said.
But the hard work has paid off. “The potential is enormous. It goes without saying. If Danish farmers and slaughterhouses can find space in China, it will be of great importance to all of Denmark,” the minister said, adding: “The Chinese already eat half of the world’s pigmeat, so it’s an incredible prospective market.”
Tulip Food Company CEO Kasper Lenbroch called it “an amazing opportunity that we are putting all sails [behind] in order to exploit”. He said that orders had already been made “for the next six months”. As per specific rules, the heat-treated products – which include sausages, cold cuts, pepperoni and canned ham and pork luncheon meat – must be pure pork and produced in Denmark.
Denmark already has an established market for fresh pork and pork products in China and Hong Kong. Pigmeat exports that include ears, tails and toes from Denmark to China and Hong Kong rose to DKR2.13 billion (US$335m) in 2016 from DKR1.54bn (US$242m) in 2014. Sales of pork cuts also shot up, generating DKR1.3m (US$205m) in sales during 2017, up from DKR624m (US$97m) in 2014, according to data from the Danish Agriculture and Food Council (Landbrug & Fødevarer FmbA).
Meanwhile, export sales from prepared or preserved pork products to China and Hong Kong also increased from DKR8m (US$1.25m) in 2014 to DKR12m (US$1.88m) in 2017.