Danish agro operators join to pursue expansion in hemp foods

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Two Danish farming enterprises have agreed to join forces, hoping to capitalize on hemp’s potential in the rapidly-growing plant-based foods sector.

International farming co-op Danish Agro a.m.b.a. said it has agreed to buy a 70% stake in hemp company Møllerup Brands, a hemp grower and producer of food and food ingredients based in the village of Nors in Northern Jutland.

Danish Agro, whose business extends across Scandinavia and Baltic Sea regions, is a producer of food ingredients and vitamin mixes, fertilizer, seed and energy. The chain buys crops from farmers, distributes a number of farm machinery brands, and provides crop protection. Owned by 12,000 Danish farmers and headquartered in Karise south of Copenhagen, the co-op traces its history to 1901 when Stevns Feed Association, a forerunner company, was founded on the Stevns Peninsula. 

‘Exciting developments

In addition to Denmark, Danish Agro has operations in Sweden, Finland, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Hungary. The group had a pre-tax profit of €66 million based on income of €152 million in 2020.

“We are seeing exciting developments in the market for plant-based foodstuffs, which is a strategic focus area for Danish Agro,” said the company’s CEO, Henning Haahr. “That’s why we also see a lot of possibilities in a collaboration with the Gamborg family on Møllerup Brands.”

“The global market for hemp seeds is growing, and we want to focus on increasing sales and knowledge of the company’s hemp seed products,” Haahr said. “This will also hopefully lead to more farmers being able to sign farming contracts for hemp seeds with us.”

Møllerup’s farming history

Møllerup Brands, in business for six years, makes hempseed oil, roasted seed, hulled seed, hemp flour and hemp protein powder. The company has distribution partners in the bakery, dairy, fishing, meat processing, ice cream and other food industry sectors. Møllerup Brands’ hemp seed farming operations are under Møllerup Estate, a property that has been in the farming business since the Middle Ages. The hemp business was established by Anne Sophie Gamborg, her husband Stig and their children over the past 15 years. The Gamborg family has owned Møllerup Estate since 1920.

“It is clear that Danish Agro shares our perspective on the possibilities of this business,” said Anne Sophie Gamborg, suggesting the deal “will give us the ability to take our business to the next level.”

Møllerup Brands has 8,000 sq. m. of production operations near Thisted in Northern Jutland.

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