While the corona pandemic mercilessly trampled over a significant part of the Danish business community and plunged many industries into financial crisis, there are also some that came through the crisis both dry-shod and more resilient. This includes the Danish bio and life science industry, which did very well overall and, unlike many other industries, wa not bleeding red numbers on the bottom line.
One of the companies that performed well despite a worldwide crisis is the global life science company Chr. Hansen, which develops natural solutions for the food, beverage, supplements and pharmaceutical industries as well as the agricultural sector. The company's CFO Lise Skaarup Mortensen is in no doubt where to find part of the answer to why the bio and life science industry has been successful even through the corona crisis.
"We are an industry that is less sensitive to economic cycles. We make ingredients for the food and healthcare industry. And in times like these, we still need food and, to a large extent, we still need to take care of our health," she says.
Health and sustainability on the global agenda
Looking at the bigger picture, Lise Skaarup Mortensen believes that the success of the bio and life science industry in recent years is due to a growing global interest in health, sustainability and good food. For Chr. Hansen specifically, the company is experiencing a high demand for nutrition without chemical additives. Something that speaks to what is one of the company's core products.
"We may be a company whose existence is an offshoot of the fact that for many years we have been able to produce healthy bacteria that can develop good cheese and yogurt. But we've come a long way since the company was founded almost 150 years ago. This technology with natural bacteria can be used widely in the entire food industry today - for example, to protect crops instead of pesticides and to reduce the use of antibiotics for farm animals by using natural bacteria instead," she says.
In recent years, Chr. Hansen has had particular success with natural bacteria, which can give a number of foods a long lifespan in a natural way, says Lise Skaarup Mortensen. This means that in the future, these will in many cases be used instead of artificial additives, so that foods such as yogurt can be given a longer shelf life in a natural way. This aspect is also in line with the global agenda to address food waste and reduce the use of the earth's resources, she says:
"Statistics say that approximately one third of the total amount of food globally is wasted. If you can use nature's own good bacteria instead of additives and chemicals, it's amazing from a global perspective. That's one of the things that fascinates me about the industry: that you can do something good for the world and run a healthy business at the same time. It's a big part of our DNA, and I believe that this is the path we need to take to contribute to a good economy in Denmark," says Lise Skaarup Mortensen.