The Top 10
These are the most downloaded episodes of the Nordic FoodTech podcast
Recently, I reviewed the top 10 most downloaded episodes of the podcast. I was surprised that listeners’ interests were smattered across the board. The Top 10 doesn’t overly lean in any direction. If anything, it’s a perfect tapestry that showcases how food and agriculture are deeply woven into so much of life. The more you stick around, the more you realize how interconnected it all is.
If you’re a new listener, this collection is a great starting point for exploring the show. If you’ve been around awhile, I’m curious if the list surprises you. Do you recognize any of the episodes? Given that our listeners now come from 80(!) countries, I find it fascinating to analyze what’s resonated so far.
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These days I feel like everyone is talking about seaweed and I totally get why. It’s a great example of a regenerative ingredient. Not only can it be used for many purposes across many industries, it also acts as a carbon sink while cleaning the ocean. It’s estimated that seaweed will grow into a multi-billion dollar industry by 2030. As coastal nations, the Nordics hold prime real estate for capturing this market. In this episode, we speak with Seaweed Solutions CEO Jon Funderud. He gives us a 101 course and talks about the bottlenecks for building up the industry.
I would dare to say that Oatly is the Nordic’s greatest food startup success story to date. It’s not particularly easy to introduce a new product to the market. It’s even harder to create a food that’s adopted as a lifestyle, but that’s exactly what Oatly did. In this episode, the Founder of Oatly traces the company’s story from it’s early beginnings. We cover their famous barista strategy, designing food for better health outcomes, and what’s next on the horizon. Turns out, it takes 20 years to build an overnight success.
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When I think of my kitchen appliances, I certainly don’t think of them as having superpowers. My interview with Tove Chevalley, the Head of Electrolux's Innovation Hub, changed all of that. Her team is focused on nudging us towards more sustainable actions by redesigning how we cook, clean, and care for our homes. An example, kitchens of the past were designed for meat eaters. What happens if they are designed with veggie-first in mind? It’s a whole new set up. In this episode, we discuss how Electrolux is designing the kitchen of the future and what it takes to innovate in a legacy organization.
I feel like Chr. Hansen is one of those sneaky companies that is actually everywhere, but you don’t know until you know. Chr. Hansen produces “good bacteria.” They own a library of some 40,000 microbial strains, which are widely used for fermenting just about anything. They recently partnered with Noma’s former Head of Fermentation David Zilber. I can only imagine what kind of playground their lab is for him. In this episode, we speak with Julien Biolley, the Head of Marketing and Business Development activities for Chr. Hansen’s Food Cultures & Enzymes in North America. We talk biotech, the basics you need to know about enzymes, and how the company is partnering across the ecosystem to innovate.
The Nordics drink the most coffee per capita. All of that good stuff is imported, which draws into question how we can be conscious coffee consumers. Coffee Collective is a shining example for how a business can take a stand to set a new industry standard that lifts the entire value chain. In this episode, Founder Klaus Thomsen shares the company’s backstory, how they chose to do things differently, radical transparency, and their vision for the future of coffee.
Ever wonder what it’s like to be a food influencer? Anders Husa and Kaitlin Orr are Scandinavia’s most influential restaurant bloggers. This dynamic duo is also behind the food community The Hungries. In this episode, we discuss the ins and outs of the business from how they got their start to how they met and fell in love and ultimately merged their companies together. We also discuss their process for evaluating restaurants, emerging sustainability standards, and what makes a dining experience memorable.
This conversation with Aviaja Lyberth Hauptmann remains one of my favorites. The Inuit have managed to survive in the Arctic Circle for a millennia relying mainly on animal-sourced food. In the last 100 years, the Greenlandic diet has changed dramatically influenced by Western food norms and dietary recommendations. This has brought up many societal, economic, and cultural issues especially around food and health. Aviaja explains how the promotion of a Western diet and most recently the push towards plant-based can be harmful to indigenous cultures. There is so much food for thought here when it comes to creating an inclusive food system. It pulls into question what is healthiest for people and the planet and why your microbiome matters.
I spent months preparing for this interview. Fertilizer is a touchy topic in the food world. On one hand, it can help to boost crop nutrition and yields. On the other hand, it can lead to environmental degradation. Yara is one of the leading fertilizer companies in the world. They were founded in 1905 when Europe was on the brink of famine. In a desperate attempt to feed a growing population, they found a way to extract nitrogen from the air creating a nitrogen fertilizer. Back then, the fertilizer was produced using hydro power. It then switched to gas when that became a cheaper energy source. Now Yara is finding their way back to hydro power as the world pushes for sustainability. In this episode, we discuss Yara’s green transition and how that’s reflected in the food world with balanced crop nutrition, green fertilizer, regenerative agriculture, and precision farming. We also discuss their new corporate venture capital arm, the company’s history, and it’s future.
Ahhh! La dolce vita. Sitting sun drenched next to the water sipping on some wine while eating local oysters pulled straight from the harbor. 20 years ago, this idea captured Joachim Hjerl’s imagination. He had the crazy idea to try growing oysters in Copenhagen’s central harbor. Unfortunately, all the oysters he planted died, but the idea stuck. Joachim’s valiant effort got widespread news coverage prompting him to launch HavHøst or OceanHarvest, a network of community-supported ocean gardens that have spread throughout the Nordics. In this episode, we discuss everything you need to know about regenerative ocean farming, how any community can get started, and why a crazy idea is always worth a try.
Only in the last few years have dedicated food investors set up shop in the Nordics. PINC was early to the game. They are Paulig Group’s corporate venture capital arm, which is focused on investing in the future of taste. Paulig is a big house of brands across the Nordics and Baltics. Their portfolio consists of Santa Maria, Risenta, Gold & Green, and PocoLoco along with Paulig coffee. In this episode, Marika King shares the fund’s investment thesis and many great tips for how to approach investors.
PS: Marika gave me my first job in food. I met her at a conference and she offered me a job on the spot to be their Corporate Venture Scout in Denmark. I also introduced them to their first investment, Kaffe Bueno. Meeting Marika and working at PINC was instrumental in inspiring me to launch the podcast. You can hear that story here.
I’m throwing an extra one in because it’s too good not to include. I met Noah at the same conference I met Marika (one could say this conference was life changing for me). He sat in front of me and we started chatting. The kid totally blew me away with his encyclopedic knowledge of all things related to grains and bread. Noah spent a decade working between artisanal bakeries in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand before landing in Denmark. Now he is the Manager at Juno the Bakery in Copenhagen. If you’ve tasted their legendary cardamom buns, then you’ve experienced his work. In this episode, Noah takes us on a ride through time and around the world as we explore how heritage grains are making a comeback with the surprising help of Instagram.