KMC’s 90th anniversary is a testament to strength, innovation, and adaptability in a changing business environment. And with the celebration of the milestone comes a natural reflection on past achievements and a vigilant look into the future.
– We have been here for a long time and have big shoes to fill. But we are also here to improve and evolve. At the same time, we need to preserve the KMC culture and maintain our flat hierarchy,
where everyone can see their own ideas flourish. That’s how it’s always been, and it’s important to carry that into the future, says Jesper Burgaard, CEO at KMC.
From Danish food producer to global supplier of food ingredients
What started as a small cooperative has become an international success story with more than 380 employees across the KMC Group. Until 2012, KMC was constrained by EU quotas. But when the
quotas were lifted, it sparked a significant development. Now the company was able to take advantage of the free market and utilize the ideal conditions for potato growers in Denmark – leading to an
annual growth of 10 percent.
– Our partners thirst for knowledge, especially in relation to the plant-based agenda. They don’t want a standard package. They want tailor-made solutions that strengthen their business. And that’s what we offer now and in the future, says Jesper Burgaard.
Three trends for the next ten years
1. Security of supply
The market has faced several major challenges in recent years, including a pandemic, a supply chain crisis, and the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine. More crises cannot be ruled out in the future, which underscores the importance of supply security.
Over the next ten years, KMC expects to expand its position in the global market with supply security as a significant selling point. Denmark has an ideal climate for growing potatoes, and KMC
controls the entire supply chain from seed potatoes to the sale of the finished ingredient.
– In a world filled with uncertainties, it will become even more important to ensure a stable supply of potato starch. Our production will remain in Denmark, and with our setup, we have full control
of the value chain. This gives us unique opportunities to expand our raw material base while investing in innovation and increasing production capacity, says Jesper Burgaard.
2. The plant-based revolution
Currently, Europe and the USA lead the plant-based movement, but other markets are following suit. KMC is continually adapting to this trend with the development of more green proteins. Not just in feed, but also in food.
– I am convinced that we will experience a revolution in green proteins. As a company, we are committed to the green transition and the reduction of our carbon footprint. The least we can do is to help our partners do the same, says Jesper Burgaard.
3. Reduced plant protection
The cultivation of potatoes accounts for 2% of Danish agricultural land. Nevertheless, the crop accounts for a larger share of the total use of plant protection products. This is largely because potatoes are more susceptible to diseases than other crops.
– Our potato production should be based on varieties that require significantly fewer pesticides. And the key here is new technology. We are currently working to ensure that CrisprCAS is allowed in
the EU, says Jesper Burgaard.
The latest news in this regard is the European Commission’s recent proposal to legalize the use of the technology.
KMC has been experimenting with CrisprCAS in the laboratory for years to be ready to fully exploit the technology.
So, where will KMC be in 10 years?
KMC’s 90th anniversary has been celebrated appropriately throughout 2023. Focusing on learning from the past has its qualities, but foresight has always provided growth at KMC. Plant-based cheese, confectionery, and protein remain a central point on KMC’s journey, and Jesper Burgaard has a good idea of how KMC as a company will develop over the next ten years:
– When we turn 100, we want to be recognized as the world leader in potato-based ingredients. We aim to be the preferred supplier – both in terms of knowledge and delivery. We are going to achieve this by focusing on innovation and an equal weighting of native and refined potato starch, he concludes.
This interview can also be found in our sustainability report, which can be downloaded here: