The History of Food Science in Denmark - Part 1

University of Copenhagen
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Go to Part 2 of The History of Food Science in Denmark

In Denmark, the modern history of food science begins with the establishment of the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University (RVAU) at Frederiksberg in 1858 – which today  is a part of the University of Copenhagen. The RVAU employed researchers/teachers who, through research, dissemination and education, paved the way for a huge export adventure of butter and bacon at a time when Denmark was struggling to keep up the export of cereals.

One of the key researchers was Niels Johannes Fjord, the Niels Bohr of food science in Denmark. Fjord was extremely energetic and set up his own experimental institution, where he and colleagues from the RVAU developed brilliant solutions to problems that were crucial to Denmark’s economy and helped to create the foundation for the Danish welfare system. Fjord’s research became incredibly important when falling prices and high international competition in the grain market meant that Denmark had to majorly reorganise its agriculture. Butter and bacon became the new gold for the country’s export earnings. The question is whether today we are facing a similarly radical shift in food production?

The challenges of climate, human demand and the UN’s sustainability goals are forcing us to question our current food production. Perhaps we are on the threshold of a new revolution, having to come up with solutions to feed an increasing population in a sustainable way.

Professor of Food Chemistry Leif Skibsted is the host who shows us the past of Danish food science and draws threads right up to the present.

The TV series is in Danish but is texted in English.