Danish Crown branding on flags
Image credit: Danish Crown

Brief: ‘I was wrong on plant protein; beef will become a luxury item,’ says top EU meat CEO

October 19, 2021

  • The CEO of Danish Crown — Denmark’s largest meat processing company and biggest agricultural exporter, as well as Europe’s top pork processor — suggested that beef production is likely to decrease significantly in the coming years due to climate-related concerns.
  • “It will be a bit like champagne – namely, a luxury product” that we eat when “we need to pamper ourselves,” Jais Valeur told Danish newspaper Berlingske. “We will still have production [but] from dairy cattle, calves, and beef cattle that graze in [regenerative] meadows.”
  • However, Valeur expects pork production to remain at present levels because it’s “a good bet for a climate-friendly protein.”
  • “We have no ambitions to grow the number of pigs, but to get something more out of the pigs we already produce,” he said. “We’ll do this by making production more climate-friendly and sustainable [and] providing meal solutions and components for meals, rather than fresh meat.”
  • Valeur also said he’d “admit that [Danish Crown] were wrong” to play down plant-based protein’s potential when he became CEO five years ago. “I probably had my Beatles moment there,” he said.

Why it matters:

Several global ‘Big Meat’ companies have signaled their increasing interest in the plant-based protein space recently.

In May, JBS, the world’s biggest meat processor, agreed to acquire Dutch plant-based protein brand Vivera in a deal worth €341 million ($409 million).

The following month, Cargill CEO Dave MacLennan said that “plant-based will be perhaps 10% of the market” within four years. “There’s some cannibalization that will occur,” he added.

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