In a time of huge challenges on the starch market, 48-year-old Kristian Møller Sørensen took over as chairman of the board at KMC in late 2022. Kristian Møller Sørensen has been a member of the board at KMC for 15 years. As the longest-serving member, it was natural for him to accept the position after Peter Christian Petersen chose to stand down as chairman of the board.
The new man in charge not only has in-depth board experience, he is also a farmer himself, and a proud potato supplier to the company. At the age of 24, he ran a 150-hectare holding which is now expanded to 800 hectares, giving him unique knowledge about the farmers’ role at KMC and the starch market in general.
– The most important thing in the starch market right now is security of supply. That is what our customers want, and we have to deliver on that, says Kristian Møller Sørensen. He adds:
– I have an open style of working with the board. I value transparency very highly and I believe everyone on the board must have the same knowledge. That is the best way to create great cooperation.
A chaotic beginning
When Kristian Møller Sørensen took charge at the board in late 2022, freight rates had risen tenfold, and the energy crisis was an overhanging threat. At the same time, drought had destroyed much of the potato harvest in Southern Europe, and KMC was struggling to keep up with demand while finding energy alternatives.
– It was a chaotic start to my chairmanship, but now it looks like the worst is behind us and we can start building without worrying about energy or overheated freight rates. I am looking forward to closing the financial year, and I am confident it will be one of the best we have ever presented to our shareholders, says Kristian Møller Sørensen.
Maintaining the current momentum in the market will be one of the biggest challenges for the farmer-chairman. But his plan is clear:
– We need to continue doing what we do best: growing potatoes in Denmark. There is no other place more suitable for growing starch potatoes. And if we expand the world-class production facilities we have built, we can continue our organic growth, providing the best return for our shareholders. That is the most important objective for me, he says.
Despite the positive outlook for the near future, challenges still remain for KMC. For years, the company has contributed to a plant-based future by offering refined potato starch for use in cheese, confectionery, emulsions, and a range of other products. But being an enabler of plant-based foods is not easy.
– Although we support the plant-based movement, our potatoes can never be grown organically. Potatoes are very vulnerable to mold infections and the lawful use of plant protection is highly limited in Denmark compared to other countries. At the same time, all farmers pay high fees for using plant protection, says Kristian Møller Sørensen.
To help overcome the many challenges, a range of strategic investments are currently on Kristian Møller Sørensen’s list of initiatives. One of those is KMC’s new innovation center, to be finished in 2024. Read more about the innovation center.