Bent Hansen, Chairman of the Regional Council of Central Denmark
As chairman of the leading food region in Denmark I am very pleased to welcome the IFAMA conference in June 2016 in Aarhus. Food innovation is a highly prioritised theme in the regional business development strategy in Central Denmark Region (CDR). And there is a good reason for this. More than 1/3 of the Danish primary production and more than 40 % of the total Danish food export originate from this region. Several strong knowledge and innovation institutions specialised in the agro, marine and high tech food areas make a perfect innovation environment for R&D activities for global food companies such as Arla, Danish Crown and Dupont. In addition a wide range of SMEs offer high class services and competences in order to fulfill the needs of the total food value chain within a narrow geographical area. Therefore we do not hesitate to proclaim, that this region is an international hub for food innovation.
But we do not only focus on our exiting specialisations – within food safety, milk products, meat products and food ingredients. We believe that there is a large growth potential by facing the global challenges with new business opportunities. No doubt that climate changes, pollution, food security and obesity are real and increasing problems. On the other hand, we can identify a lot of potential new business cases grounded in strong traditions for co-operation and co-creation in the Danish food industry. In that context the IFAMA conference match our way of thinking and acting, and I am sure that we will get a lot of inspiration from researchers, students and CEO’s from all over the world.
In a few days we launch a new regional food strategy based on two overall strategic approaches:
- We need to establish new business models across traditional sectors in order to be able to use our existing resources in a way that makes higher value, larger tonnage, better environment and better health. This calls for a well-developed innovation infrastructure including businesses, academia and government. For our part we support business development programmes, ex. Future Food Innovation, in order to increase food companies’ innovation capacity.
- National and international co-operations and partnerships are the key to future food solutions and value creation within the food industry. CDR is one of the founding partners of the organisation Danish Food Cluster. We believe that national unity and common international visibility and interaction make a difference on a global scale. At the same time we actively support Foodnexus’ efforts to make a cross European food KIC (Knowledge and Innovation Community), which has just been put to tender by the European Union.
I am sure, that the IFAMA conference will provide all participants important new insights and new collaborators. At the same time it is my hope that many IFAMA guests will spot the opportunities for partnering with smart Danish businesses and our talented researchers and students.
Mr. Bent Hansen
Chairman of the Regional Council in Central Denmark Region