Preserving African food microorganisms for Green Growth

Preserving African food microorganisms for Green Growth
Press ReleaseJan 30. 2014 11:20 GMT

Chr. Hansen in new CSR project with University of Copenhagen.

A new four-year project aiming at isolating and scientifically characterizing West African microorganisms has kicked off on January 1, 2014. The aim is to turn the regional food sector into a driver of sustainable growth, improving food security and alleviating poverty.

The project partially builds on a new (2013) PhD thesis by a former PhD student with Chr. Hansen, David Bichala Adimpong from Ghana, on the characterization of lactic acid bacteria from indigenous African fermented foods.

The major part of West African foods are fermented and play a predominant role in the diet of West Africans. Fermented foods have many advantages; they are produced from local crops, at reduced energy cost, they are nutritious and generally free from pathogens, they have a long shelf life and can be stored unrefrigerated.

As part of the collaboration between Chr. Hansen, the University of Copenhagen (lead institution with Professor Lene Jespersen as coordinator), another Danish institute and four African universities, Chr. Hansen will host a new African PhD student in the project, which is supported by Danida under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

Part of innovation strategy
“We have a long and successful tradition of cooperating with PhD students as an inspiration and source of new knowledge. In return we can help developing countries develop and use fermentation technologies to improve food and health,” says Kim Ib Soerensen, Senior Principal Scientist, Innovation, Chr. Hansen.

“Partnering with students and universities has always been a part of our innovation strategy, and with our new overall business strategy Nature’s no. 1 an even stronger link has been established between innovative ideas and global challenges in relation to food security such as declining productivity in agriculture, food loss in the value chain and food safety”.

Creating shared value
Henriette Oellgaard, Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, Chr. Hansen, could not agree more:
"Projects like this have a great potential for both the international students, for their countries and for Chr. Hansen’s business. It is a true example of creating shared value, which CSR is all about," she states.

Chr. Hansen is a leading, global bioscience company that develops natural ingredient solutions for the food, nutritional, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries. We develop and produce cultures, enzymes, probiotics and natural colors for a rich variety of foods, confectionery, beverages, dietary supplements and even animal feed and plant protection. Our product innovation is based on more than 30,000 microbial strains – we like to refer to them as ‘good bacteria’. Our solutions enable food manufacturers to produce more with less – while also reducing the use of chemicals and other synthetic additives – which make our products highly relevant in today’s world. Sustainability is an integral part of Chr. Hansen’s vision to improve food and health. In 2019 Chr. Hansen was ranked as the world’s most sustainable company by Corporate Knights thanks to our strong sustainability efforts and our many collaborative partnerships with our customers. We have been delivering value to our partners – and, ultimately, end consumers worldwide – for over 140 years. We are proud that more than one billion people consume products containing our natural ingredients every day. Revenue in the 2017/18 financial year was EUR 1,097 million. Chr. Hansen was founded in 1874 and is listed on Nasdaq Copenhagen.